Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Venezuela and the ‘law of the fishes’


[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 June 2010, 00:18 GMT]
"Instead of making connections with the illegitimate opposition of Sri Lanka, Venezuela should be strengthening the hand of an ally that is also suffering imperial aggressions," says Eva Golinger, a friend of the President of Venezuela and English editor of the Venezuela government newspaper Correo del Orinoco. Writing a feature of factual and perceptual errors, Golinger says, Rajapaksa who is supported by left and communist parties put an end to the LTTE that has strong ties with the CIA. Tamil circles don’t believe that the reputed left-wing writer failed to do her homework on Sri Lanka or on the Eezham Tamil struggle. Instead, they think that in a world where the villains and the heroes are together nowadays, some forces are working on luring Latin America to enter into South Asia from the wrong direction, hanging onto the deceptive red shawl of Rajapaksa soaked in genocidal blood.

Eva Golinger
Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American attorney and writer, is the English editor of the Correo del Orinoco, a paper backed by the Venezuelan government. She became popular for her publication The Chavez Code, which cracked the code of intervention of the United States in Venezuela.
Golinger wrote the piece last month, advising the government to strengthen Rajapaksa regime and not to give any hearing to Eezham Tamils, when some representatives of an organisation called Canadian Hart (Canadian Humanitarian Appeal for Relief of Tamils, a group organized by Canadian university students) visited Venezuela.

A few days before Golinger wrote her opinion, Sri Lankan ambassador in Cuba, Tamara Kunanayakam, rushed to Venezuela to spearhead a diplomatic campaign and misinformation campaign against the struggle of Eezham Tamils.

The ambassador in Latin America, whose Tamil surname is misused in the game of deception, gave an interview last week, denying the existence of a liberation struggle of Tamils, genocide, concentration camps etc in the island. She painted a rosy picture of the Rajapaksa regime, which in her luring words is working for one of the fastest growing economies and “a feeder to rapidly growing China and India,” and thus could become a regional centre and “major gateway to India.”

Tamara Kunanayakam
Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Cuba
The blatant lies and outbursts showing the spirit of a newly converted coming from the ambassador, a servant of Colombo and a second generation Sinhalicised Tamil of the Colombo-centric culture, sharing a historical interest in preserving the Colombo-dominated capitalism of the island, can be ignored. Not even the Sinhalese are going to respect what she says.

But, many leftists all around the world were puzzled what made Eva Golinger a well-known anti-imperialist to twist facts and views in favour of an ethnic-chauvinistic state that demonstrated to the world for the first time that a genocidal war could be fought without witnesses and a long-standing national question of a people could be crushed, by having all the imperialists on its side to abet or actively participate.

Golinger, outlining the potentialities and prospects of Sri Lanka in her article, wrote: “Rajapaksa, a Buddhist leader, is supported by a coalition of parties of the left, amongst them the Communist Party. In May 2009, it was able to end the civil war, putting a stop to the armed organization the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).”

“The LTTE has strong ties with the CIA, and Washington negotiated an agreement with them to establish a military base in its country, were they able to get to power. Soon after their defeat, the LTTE established numerous organizations – fronts in different countries around the world, searching to create a 'government in exile' and to be able to isolate the current Government of Sri Lanka. Last week, representatives of one such front, Canadian Hart, passed through Venezuela; he met with government functionaries looking for support in an attempt to weaken relations between the two governments,” was Golinger’s simplified understanding of one of the most complex crises of contemporary world polity.

“Instead of making connections with the illegitimate opposition of Sri Lanka, Venezuela should be strengthening the hand of an ally that is also suffering imperial aggressions,” she concluded.

In fact two months before Golinger writing her article, Sri Lanka’s ambassador Tamara came out with almost identical points on the potentiality, prospects and the US designs involving the LTTE, while addressing Centre for Studies on Asia and Oceania in Cuba, appealing to the audience that Cuba and Sri Lanka are on the same boat in resisting the US imperialism.

As Golinger is considered seriously because of her contribution to Latin America’s anti-imperialist struggle, many leftists cared to come out with responses.

“Eva Golinger’s misinformation endangers exiled Tamils’ fight for freedom,” said five Latin American solidarity groups in Canada in a joint statement.

Patrick J. O'Donoghue
VHeadline News Editor Patrick J. O'Donoghue
Writing an editorial, VHeadline News Editor, Patrick J.O’Donoghue said, Venezuela president should not take Golinger’s word on the Tamils and should be properly briefed before entering the minefield of Sri Lankan politics.

The USA also drew up an agreement with Sri Lanka for military relations and had declared the Tamil Tigers a terrorist organisation despite the Tigers have been combating the Sri Lanka state dominated by the Sinhalese for decades, he said.

It is not the first time that the Venezuelan President Chavez has been caught out internationally, and it is hoped that his government will study the case of Sri Lanka with care, he further wrote.

The most detailed and extensive response has come from Ron Ridenour, a veteran US born but now Denmark-based leftist and anti-imperialist, who voiced against the US aggression on Cuba in 1961, jailed in the US for his views on several occasions and contributed extensively to the study of Latin America.

Ron Ridenour
Ron Ridenour, a veteran journalist, author and editor, who worked for decades for anti-imperialist ideology with a special focus on Latin American affairs, is author of several books including Cuba Beyond the Crossroads (2006) and Cuba at Sea (2008).
Ron Ridenour hits the bull’s eye, why Golinger brand of anti-imperialism professed for others outside of Latin America differs.

Bringing out her factual errors, explaining how the US supported the genocide of Tamils, revealing how the US which didn’t want to be seen in the forefront operated in the war against the Tamils through Israel, where the Latin American ALBA countries let down Tamils and discussing the war crimes of Sri Lanka, Ron Ridenour says, “Instead of opposing the Yankee Empire, her [Golinger’s] position is allied with imperialist United States and its allies Zionist Israel, the United Kingdom and other former European colonialists, as well as the emerging superpower and worker-exploiter China.”

“As solidarity activists, we advocate the right to resist and the necessity to conduct armed struggle once peaceful means fail to induce oppressive governments to engage in a process aimed at justice and equality—such is the case in Sri Lanka with the Tamil people, just as surely as it is in Palestine. [...] solidarity activists have no choice. We must support the Tamil people.” Ron Ridenour said.

When the Eezham Tamil struggle stood up all alone against all the imperialists of the world, this test case of human civilisation was ignored by the so-called anti-imperialists of the Golinger brand and was allowed to end up in genocide, Tamil circles commented.

Some of the establishments of the anti-imperialists even ganged up in the UN Human Rights to save the Sri Lankan state that received all support from all the imperialists of the world in the war.

Now both the imperialists and anti-imperialists alike want to strengthen the genocidal state of Sri Lanka and want to compete for the dividends coming from the winner.

While on one hand selling the land and resources to the imperialists, by the other, Rajapaksa paints a sympathetic picture to the gullible or the opportunistic ones – ultimately aimed to complete the genocide by hoodwinking the world. An ethnic-majoritarian and totalitarian state strategically located is convenient to corporate colonialism of the imperialists.

The so-called anti-imperialists are playing in the hands of one or the other imperialists competing in Sri Lanka – if not the US then India or China, Tamil circles commented.

When have the anti-imperialists of the Golinger brand started looking at peoples in struggle through the colonially imposed state frame work, just like the establishments of the world, ask Tamil circles.

What is happening in South Asia is the conquest of corporate colonialism enacted by imperialists through what is called ‘Matsyanyaya’ or the ‘law of the fishes’ said in ancient South Asian philosophy, i.e., the big fish eating the small.

The Sinhala state, which is not prepared to recognize the land and sovereignty of Eezham Tamils is now forced to forfeit the entire land and sovereignty to imperialists and is wailing for help. Yet it is adamant to succumb than conceding Tamil rights and strengthening the island.

Why not the anti-imperialists in Latin America tell Sri Lanka to first resolve the national question?

India was a partner to Sri Lanka in crushing the Tamil national struggle and now may be getting the returns. But the US is there now pressing for corporate interests in India including in educational institutions.

If the anti-imperialists want the law of the fishes not to become the law of the humans then they have to start from the lowest level of the chain. They should demonstrate what could be done for the Eezham Tamils. Handling imperialism at the state level, either at the Sri Lanka level or at the India level will not give confidence to the masses in countering imperialism.

If the Latin American anti-imperialists are really ignorant of what is happening in Sri Lanka and what is righteous about the struggle of Eezham Tamils, then it is a serious matter for the perusal of Eezham Tamil activists and leftists among Tamils.

TamilNet has been long cautioning political organisation efforts of Eezham Tamils not only to maintain independence in organising polity but also to be transparently seen as independent.

The leftists among Eezham Tamils and in Tamil Nadu have a noble role in telling the outside world why the liberation of Eezham Tamils is a test case for contemporary human civilisation. They have a responsibility in shaping the struggle and in seeing that it gets the due status.

Many Eezham Tamils have noticed with pain that the current reality about the trajectory of their struggle has not even gone to the academics and intellectuals in North India, when they encounter questions from learned North Indians that 'what should now worry the Eezham Tamils since the LTTE is no more.'

External Links:
Editorial: Eva Golinger and the Tiger Tamils
Backing the Wrong Side: Eva Golinger's Tamil Libel
Ron Ridenour: Eva Golinger Misinterprets Solidarity
Daily Mirror:
Interview with Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Cuba
Tamara Kunanayakam: Sri Lanka, Geostrategic Importance, Present Situation And Challenges Ahead
Sri Lanka: English translation of Eva Golinger's original article
Eva Golinger's misinformation endangers exiled Tamils' fight for freedom
Sri Lanka and Venezuela - A Debate

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sri Lanka's war, a corporate war, says Arundhati Roy

Sri Lanka's war, a corporate war, says Arundhati Roy

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 June 2010, 02:22 GMT]
The war in Sri Lanka was not just a war of the Sri Lankans against the Tamil people, according to writer-activist Arundhati Roy. "That was a corporate war. All the large Indian companies are now heading to Sri Lanka to make more money," Roy said on Friday speaking at a Chennai convention on attacks by India against tribal resistance movements, Times of India said. Roy has previously voiced her opposition openly on Sri Lanka's war against Tamils and had condemned India's silence on the humanitarian tragedy in Sri Lanka, calling the war "a racist war on Tamils."

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy, writer and activist. Booker Prize winner for her novel, The God of Small Things
Ms. Roy also accused the Tamil Nadu political parties for their silence.

"The political parties of Tamil Nadu were the only ones who could have stopped the genocide in Sri Lanka, but they chose to stand by silently. A similar thing is happening in central India where tribals are resisting the takeover of natural resources by corporates," Times of India said quoting Roy.

"Given the scale of what is happening in Sri Lanka, the silence is inexcusable. More so because of the Indian government's long history of irresponsible dabbling in the conflict, first taking one side and then the other. Several of us who should have spoken out much earlier, have not done so, simply because of a lack of information about the war," Arundhati Roy wrote in a Boston Globe editorial when the slaughter against Tamils was reaching unprecedented levels in March 2009.

Words of Arundhati Roy
Politics of power, war, corporations,
deception and exploitation.
Documentary taken 4 years ago
Pointing to the complicity of other countries in assisting Sri Lanka in the conduct of its war where more than 40,000 civilians were allegedly killed in the first five months of 2009, Roy asked: "[t]here are unconfirmed reports that the Indian government is lending material and logistical support to the Sri Lankan government. If this is true, it is outrageous. What about the governments of other countries? Pakistan? China? What are they doing to help or harm the situation?"

Arundhati Roy was born 24 November 1961. She is an Indian writer and an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things. For her work as an activist she received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002.


Related Articles:
24.03.10 India’s genocide of its own tribal nations
25.11.09 Heroes and rulers, eternal struggle of humanity
08.10.09 'India follows Sri Lanka in waging civil war'

External Links:
Lankan war was corporate one, says Arundhati Roy
The silence surrounding Sri Lanka
This is not a war on terror. It is a racist war on all Tamils

MIA draws Oprah's attention to Sri Lanka bombing of safe zone

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 May 2009, 10:42 GMT]
Oscar and Grammy award nominee, Eezham born music phenom, Maya Arulpragasam (MIA), after meeting the popular talk-show host Oprah Winfrey at a gala at Lincoln Center in celebration of the most influential people list the Time magazine produced, drew Oprah's attention to Sri Lanka Government's bombing of civilian camps inside the safe zone in MIA's face book.

Maya, Oprah at Times gala
Maya, Oprah at Times gala (Courtesy: Life Magazine)
"She [Oprah] squeezed my hand so hard, I was convinced she cared. Michelle Obama gave a speech and there was mad secret service in the air so I didn't get to throw a paper plane at her saying "stop the bombing of Tamils in Sri Lanka,"" MIA said in her face book entry.

She referred to the Times Online article "Sri Lanka government admits bombing civilian safe haven," and the recent British Channel 4 News that produced grim video images of scenes of at Sri Lankan camps, and appealed, "Oprah can you do something about these camps, please?"

External Links:
Grim scenes at Sri Lankan camps
Sri Lanka government admits bombing civilian safe haven


MIA's Face book entry on Sri Lanka


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sri Lanka threatens to execute General Sarath Fonseka

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: 'He (Fonseka) is betraying the country'

By Stephen Sackur
Presenter, BBC HARDtalk
The Sri Lankan government has threatened to execute Sarath Fonseka, the army commander who delivered victory over the Tamil Tigers, if he continues to suggest top officials may have ordered war crimes during the final hours of the Tamil war.
General Fonseka
General Fonseka wants to testify before an independent investigation
The threat, issued by Sri Lanka's powerful defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is the latest sign of a bitter and intensifying feud within the Sri Lankan political establishment, little more than a year after the end of the Tamil war.
Mr Rajapaksa, who worked closely with General Fonseka on the aggressive military strategy which crushed the Tigers, told the BBC's HARDtalk programme that the general had proved himself to be a liar and a traitor.
Gen Fonseka quit the military soon after the final defeat of the Tigers. He was the main opposition candidate in last January's presidential election.
Within days of his defeat the former war hero was arrested and is currently in military detention facing a court martial on charges of corruption and politicking while in uniform.
That's a treason. We will hang him (Fonseka) if he do that
Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabya Rajapaksa
Gen Fonseka roused the fury of the ruling Rajapaksa clan when he joined the opposition. The rift deepened when Gen Fonseka suggested there was eyewitness evidence of the defence secretary ordering army officers to shoot and kill surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders at the end of the war.
Government enemy
That eyewitness is said to be a Sri Lankan journalist who is now in hiding overseas.
The very fact that Gen Fonseka has heard the account and gives it credence makes him a dangerous enemy of the current government.
Gen Fonseka told me, in a clandestine telephone interview, that he would be prepared to testify before any independent investigation of alleged abuses during the Tamil war. "I will not hide anything," he said.
When I put this possibility to Mr Rajapaksa he responded with an extraordinary tirade. "He can't do that. He was the commander," he said. "That's a treason. We will hang him if he do that. I'm telling you… How can he betray the country? He is a liar, liar, liar."
Political fallout
The suggestion that Gen Fonseka could be executed is likely to cause a political storm in Sri Lanka. Fonseka is an elected MP and he garnered 40% of the vote in the presidential election. Capital punishment has not been used on the island for 34 years.
Defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa also ruled out any possibility of an independent, third-party investigation of alleged war crimes committed by both the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers in the final phase of the war.
"We are an independent country, we have the ability to investigate all these things," he said.
Colombo insists that no civilians were killed by the army during their final assault on the Tiger's last redoubt, despite evidence from the UN and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which points to thousands of civilian deaths.
With a strong electoral mandate and a big majority in Parliament President Mahinda Rajapaksa seems intent on ruling post-war Sri Lanka without heed to critics at home or abroad.
Powerful family
He has turned his administration into something of a family business. As well as his brother who is the defence secretary, another brother is minister of economic development, another is speaker of the parliament, and his son is a newly elected MP.
In all, the Rajapaksas are responsible for spending more than two-thirds of the state budget.
The dominance of the family is "dangerous and unsustainable," says Vijayadasa Rajapaksa (no relation), a leading Sinhalese barrister and the president's former friend and personal lawyer.
Sri Lanka's defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Gotabaya Rajapaksa said General Fonseka was "a liar and a traitor"
He joined the opposition after becoming disillusioned with the president's failure to act on repeated warnings about corruption and waste in the public sector.
Sri Lanka's budget deficit, at some 8% of GDP is significantly above targets set by the IMF in return for a $2.6bn (£1.79bn) loan package, but the Rajapaksa government is committed to a massive programme of post-war spending.
In and around Kilinochchi, the former capital of the Tamil Tiger northern fiefdom it is easy to see where the money should be going.
Houses are destroyed, farmland is lost to jungle and still swathes of territory are off-limits to civilians as the Sri Lankan army continues to clear mines.
At least the de facto internment camp at Menic Farm, which was filled with almost 300,000 Tamil civilians a year ago is now emptying fast. Every day families line up for hours in the sticky heat for buses heading to their home villages across the northern Vanni region.
We want to bring normalcy to this country, but we have suffered from terrorism for 30 years, so it has to happen gradually
Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa
But they wait with precious little sense of anticipation.
Farmer and father of three, Thambirasa Karunamurthy, told me: "We came here with one plastic bag of belongings and we're going home with no money, no assets, nothing. We have to start life again in a barren land. We don't know what we are going to do."
On every road and around every settlement Sri Lankan soldiers man guard posts and checkpoints. The government has promised to fully integrate the north into the national economy. It has ruled out significant Tamil autonomy.
"If there is no political solution the conclusion will be that the government wants to impose military victory on the Tamil people, and that the Tamils will never accept," says veteran leader of the Tamil National Alliance Rajavarothiam Sampanthan.
He talks of "organising and resisting through non-violent means".
But Sampanthan speaks from a comfortable office in Colombo. In the ruined villages of the north resistance of any sort seems like a thing of the past.
New struggle
The Tamil Tigers, for years the brutal masters of the Vanni, appear to have been finished for good. Those that were not killed in the war's brutal end-game were rounded up and detained. Just a handful of fighters managed to escape. I spoke to one man now in hiding who was a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) bomb-maker for more than a decade.
This ex-combatant, who was badly wounded earlier in the war, was twitchy with nerves and deep in denial. He denied reports that Tiger cadres forcibly held Tamil civilians in their last redoubt.
He denied the irrefutable evidence that the Tigers conscripted child soldiers and ruthlessly silenced Tamil dissent. And he denied that the war was over.
"You will see, within the next two or three years these very same Tamil people will begin a new armed struggle," he told me. "A new war led by a new leadership."
But before he hobbled away from our covert encounter - he added something else. "I am not afraid to die, but my only worry is that the Tamil people will slowly disappear."
Sri Lankans still live under a state of emergency. The war is over but the government insists Sri Lanka's security is still at risk, whether it be from Tamil "terrorist organisations" overseas, or "traitors" at home.
"We want to bring normalcy to this country, but we have suffered from terrorism for 30 years, so it has to happen gradually," says Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Too gradually, it seems, for his former friend Sarath Fonseka.

UN probing Sri Lanka 'executions'

Updated on 01 September 2009
The UN says it is viewing with 'utmost concern' a video broadcast on Channel 4 News which allegedly shows Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners.
Channel 4 News showed footage claimed to show Sri Lankan forces executing Tamils earlier this year.
The images are "horrendous" and, if authentic, are a serious breach of international law.
The United Nations’s own expert called for an investigation into footage broadcast by this programme.
But there are accusations that the organisation failed to speak out about alleged atrocities committed in the dying days of Sri Lanka's war against the Tamil Tigers.

Philip Alston, who is the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, explained whether he thought the pictures were authentic.
He said: "This videotape seems to have most of the characteristics of a genuine article and that in itself is sufficient to impose an obligation upon a government to undertake a sustained, effective, impartial investigation to ascertain the truth.
"I think the United Nations is in a difficult situation in the sense that it's really a grouping of states and the government of Sri Lanka has been very effective in terms of garnering the support of a large number of states and that does seem to have made the UN rather reluctant to speak out on these issues.
"My own role is not that of a UN official. I am a so-called independent expert, appointed as a UN special rapporteur. I report to the UN human rights council.
"I am therefore able to say very clearly that these images are gravely disturbing, that they raise prima facie concerns about significant extra-judicial executions and a full-scale investigation should be undertaken.
"I would like to see a more active United Nations response to this issue. I think it's important to try to remove it from politics. I think the UN has to insist in relation to these sorts of issues that it is not putting the Sri Lankan government in the dock as it were.
"The UN's objective should be to ascertain the facts, to verify whether killings of this nature did take place either on an isolated basis or a systematic basis and thus to provide the foundations for an ongoing dialogue with the government of Sri Lanka.
"It shouldn't be seen as a one-off issue of 'do you condemn or do you support the government?'. The focus must be on the alleged killings and getting to the truth of those and then working out what should be done by all of the parties."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bishop's House appeals to Vatican to urge Colombo to renovate Vanni churches

Bishop's House appeals to Vatican to urge Colombo to renovate Vanni churches

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 June 2010, 16:49 GMT]
Jaffna Bishop House sent an appeal to the Holy See in Vatican to urge Sri Lanka government to renovate and restore the churches in Vanni destroyed or badly damaged during the war on Vanni, sources in Jaffna said. No one except Jaffna Bishop had been permitted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Vanni to see the churches in Vanni after the war and Jaffna Bishop, Rt. Rev. Thomas Saundranayagam, had been greatly shocked and distressed to find the churches destroyed and plundered, Bishop House circles said. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka government has announced financial aid for renovating the churches in Vanni where people have been allowed to resettle.

Jaffna Bishop inspecting the desecrated statue at one of the churches in Mullaiththeevu, occupied by the Sri Lanka Army

Jaffna Bishop has emphasized in his appeal to the Holy Pope the need for the clergy to be allowed to go the churches in Vanni and to at least start the preliminary renovation work of the churches immediately.

Jaffna Bishop, shocked on seeing the churches severely damaged or totally destroyed in war, was further shaken to find them plundered with most of the holy statues in the churches reduced to pieces or removed.

The Bishop has appealed to the Holy See to conduct talks with the Sri Lanka government to expedite the renovation of destructed churches in Vanni.

Historically famous Mullaiththeevu St. Joseph Church has been completely destroyed with the holy statue, thrown out of its enclosed pedestal, lying abandoned on the floor, Bishop House sources said.

Besides, the tiles and other similar properties of the church had been pilfered, they added.