Category Archives: Eelam

Young Pirapāharan’s Inspirations and Ideology: Ragavan’s Incisive Memorial in May 2009

Ragavan, being a reprint from The Sunday Leader, 24 May 2009, where the title runs Memories of a much-mythologised rebel leader by a former LTTE fighter ” …. with the highlighting being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

  The body identified as that of the Tamil rebels’
leader, Velupilai Pirapaharan, was carried Tuesday
through Sri Lankan troops — 
Courtesy Reuters

“Those who bear arms acquire and wield an extreme measure of power. We believe that if this power is abused, it will inevitably lead to dictatorship.” – Pirapaharan, from an interview with N. Ram, 1986

The LTTE’s supreme leader and commander, Velupillai Pirapaharan, along with his wife, children and the entire leadership of the LTTE, have been completely wiped out by the Sri Lankan military. The LTTE began as a guerrilla unit during the 1970’s, at its peak, it controlled vast territory and built up a conventional force consisting of an army, navy and air force. The group won many battles against the Sri Lankan Army, crushed all Tamil opposition groups functioning in Sri Lanka, and was seen as a deadly, brutal and disciplined organisation.

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Infantry Warfare and the Final Phase of Eelam War IV: Where Laymen Blunder into Infantile Assessments

Michael Roberts

 In his typically feisty style Mark Salter has taken issue with the characterization of a statement in his To End a Civil War as “infantile”  (within an article based on the Lt Col Gash files[1]). [This protest is now reproduced at the end of this essay as well]. Salter’s assertion is from an UTHR report which in turn is based on appraisals provided by Tamil civilians who survived the last stages of the war. Here I address both Salter and Rajan Hoole, a friend of mine and the central figure behind the exhaustive 2009 UTHR reports.

Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the LTTE separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu…Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu, northeast Sri Lanka, March 26, 2009. Pictures taken March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (SRI LANKA POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

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Diehard Tigers Unpunished: Swiss Federal Court negates Its Prosecutors

News Item from Swissinfo,ch … where the title is  “No jail for Swiss Tamil Tiger financiers”

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court has given no prison terms to alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). The 13 accused were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted. The court on Thursday said accusations of participation in and support of a criminal organisation did not stand and released all of the accused.

It noted that the hierarchical link between the LTTE and WTCC was not sufficiently established. The judges also felt there was not enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal organisation.  Continue reading

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Symbolic Moments: Corbyn and Labour Party Support Self-Determination for Sri Lankan Tamils

“Jeremy Corbyn reaffirms the UK Labour Party’s strong support for Tamil self-determination and peace and justice in Sri Lanka,” 17 May 2018

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Where USA sought to arm-wrestle Sri Lanka in March-April-May 2009

Michael Roberts

The ethnographic ‘nugget’ from Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama recorded by Professor Chandre Dharma-wardana in 2013 has set off a hornet’s nest.[1] In pursuing further inquiries, I have reached the tentative conclusion that Bogollagama has not presented a total fib.[2] He is probably referring to the entry of an US recce team rather than a commando force from America’s Pacific Air Command (PACOM in short) at some point during the last phase of the war – probably in February/March.. This would have been around the time the Western conglomerate in Sri Lanka known officially as the “Co-Chairs” had mooted the idea of “a sea-directed civilian rescue mission” in February.[3]

C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron prepare to land at Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2018, during the 374th Airlift Wing Generation Exercise. The formation flight enabled the pilots to perform training necessary for them to remain current on their skillsets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres) — a snap which has nought to do with Sri Lanka but, like the second one below, serves to illustrate the power and reach of the US forces in general and those in the Pacific in particular

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KM de Silva’s Short History of Lanka reviewed critically by Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan aka Ponnadurai, in Colombo Telegraphreviewing K. M de Silva’s The Island Story: A Short History of Sri Lanka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2017

EPIGRAPH: “Sri Lanka in the first few centuries after the early settlement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society: a conception which emphasises harmony and a spirit of live and let live” (K. M. de Silva, op. cit., page 13)

It’s said that fools rush in where the wise fear even to walk. I tiptoe hesitantly, conscious that I am no historian (my discipline was Literature) while the author is perhaps the most eminent of Sri Lankan historians writing in English. The hope is that what I write will be taken as a layman’s perspective and contribution to discussion. Continue reading

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Reflections: Interpreting the Gash Files IV

Michael Roberts

I proceed, here, to extract motifs from the details on the happenings in 2009 within the principle theatre of war that have been summarized in Gash IV. This arena has been aptly identified as “the Vanni Pocket” by Serge de Silva-Ranasinghe[1] and is in the north western corner of the island. My comments will be marked A, B, C, etc for ease of reference.

  Situation Map, 2 February 2009

A= The Grand Strategy of the LTTE

In his secret situation report of the 28th January, Lt. Col. Gash notes: “The LTTE appear to have no options left, and the language on TamilNet and other similar platforms is clearly striving for international intervention to force a ceasefire on the GoSL. Further civilian casualties are now inevitable as they no longer have options to move away from the combat zone. Without the presence of the IDPs the LTTE would be subjected to unrestricted air and artillery strikes, so have no incentive to release them. The SLA is exercising restraint but, without a change in political mood, will not hold back entirely.”

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