Category Archives: gordon weiss

Murali Reddy’s Frontline Access to the War Zone in May 2009

Shenali D Waduge, reproducing here an old article in Lankaweb from 22 December 2013 which I had not seen even though I had interacted closely with Murali  in Colombo in May-June 2009 (as well as subsequently) and been commissioned to write pieces for Frontline; while also been privileged to chat with Kanchan Prasad in mid-2010 after Murali introduced me to her, after which I gained access to her invaluable snaps of the Nandikadal war zone. These I placed in a special site, viz.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/thuppahi/sets/72157626797805167/ et seq.

Waduge’s article is entitled “Sri Lanka’s War had Witnesses : Indian Journalist B. Murali Reddy”. In the reproduction below, the highlighting in red [as distinct from black] is my imposition as Editor, Thuppahi. Also see my SPECIAL NOTE at the end

 Murali at entrance to LTTE bunker hospital at Last Redoubt –Pic by Kanchan Prasad

Firstly Sri Lanka’s war did have witnesses. The witnesses were however NOT – Gordon Weiss, Francis Harrison, Channel 4, the Darusman Panel, Charles Petrie and a whole list of others who have promoted themselves as witnesses when they are not because they were never inside the war zone. They were only passing between themselves a version they have contrived that fits well within a different agenda that has nothing to do with what they claim it is. Questioning their credibility further is their sources – who happen to all be pro-LTTE. However, there was a witness throughout. He was foreign and his name is B. Muralidhar Reddy, an Indian journalist working for The Hindu/Frontline and his account “Final HoursAn eyewitness account of the last 70 hours of Eelam War IV’ gives a real eyewitness account of what he himself saw. http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2612/stories/20090619261200900.htm Continue reading

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A Down-to-Earth Review of E-War IV and Its Literature

Michael Roberts, courtesy of an original article in 29 October 2015 in Sinhalanet with the title “Down-to-Earth: The Hard Truths of Eelam War IV” … a work that I could not have written in 2009 because I had to transcend  my office-room background and it has taken time todevelop a sharper understanding of the situation. That said, I am still limtied by my ilack of battle theatre experience.

“Just as in Kosovo if enough civilians died in Sri Lanka the world would be forced to step in” – Pulidevan of LTTE to a pal in Europe (quoted in Harrison 2012: 63).

Guided by a series of studies that I have indulged in over the years 2010-15, let me summarize my findings in point form. The focus is on the period 2008-to-May 2009.  However, four facets of the broad historical context must be stressed initially: (I) Prabhākaran had one goal only: Eelam and a separate state; (II) the LTTE used two ceasefire periods in 1995 and 2001-06 as recuperating periods for renewal of their war effort; (III) as Ben Bavinck and the UTHR reports have insisted, Thamilīlam under Prabhākaran was a fascist state; and (IV) the Rajapaksa government which struggled for survival against the LTTE proved the validity of the Marxist dictum that there is an unity in any contradiction: it  became distinctly authoritarian itself, albeit still populist in its self-convictions.

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Remembering Ravi Jayewardene as Man and Founder of the STF

Item in Sunday Observer, 9 April 2017

Today, Sri Lanka  pays her solemn condolences to the late Ravi Jayewardene. He was a pilot, and later went on to make significant contributions in the corporate sector. Perhaps, the greatest legacy he leaves behind is the Special Task Force of the Sri Lanka Police. He was the daring visionary who used his prudent mind to foresee the need for a specialized unit within the Police Department at that time, in order to engage in counter terrorism operations and mitigate threats to national security.

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Final Passage for McGuinness and Prabhākaran: Sharply Contrasting

Michael Roberts

 The ‘final’ journeys on this our earth for Martin McGuinness and Velupillai Pirapāharan have been sharply different: McGuinness’ mortal remains were borne in March 2017 by his very own with a massive crowd of IRA and other Irish around; Pirapāharan’s in May 2009 was borne by his deadly enemies with no Tamils present…. and, definitely, no Tamil Tiger fighters.

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HRW in Syria and Sri Lanka: Moral Fervour generating Political Blindness and Partisanship

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is different and reads as “The Political Bankruptcy of the Western Human Rights Lobby: Their Stance in Syria & Sri Lanka in Juxtaposition.” I anticipate lively blog-comments therein –with the usual quota of disparaging ‘assassinations’.  Highlighted emphasis in RED in the version below is my work.

 A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled “What Trump Should Do in Syria,” Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas” with Russian backing. In his reading the enormous civilian death-toll is the product of the regime’s deliberate strategy, Besides generating an outflow of refugees, he says that the consequence will also produce an escalation of Islamist extremism. 

As an outsider with a limited knowledge of the extremely complex Syrian and Middle-Eastern ground situation, what strikes me about Roth’s declamation is its one-sidedness and its simplifications. It slides over the impact of US and NATO bombing runs. It implies that the extremism of ISIS, Al Qaida and other forces who are challenging the Syrian dictator is an outcome of the latter’s policies and says little about (a) the Sunni-Shia rivalries that are one aspect of the complex politics in Syria and the Middle East and (b) the repercussions flowing from the American dethronement of Saddam via invasion.

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The Missing in Lanka: An Old Bibliography … Further Supplemented

The passage of the Office of Missing Persons Bill in the Sri Lankan Parliament and the highlighting of this issue in Groundviews makes it imperative for serious analysts to scour the literature and take note of the problems in pursuing the topic in circumstances beset with continuing propaganda associated with a deadly war where agit-prop tactics were central to the activities of all sides. The “sides” include liberals, radicals and humanists whose ideological commitments sometimes clouded judgment and ability to assess ground realities.

No one is free of subjectivity. So all subjectivities and readings have to be put to the test. This includes the claims — whether related quietly or histrionically — by grieving relatives. Their power of conviction and force of telling — just study some of the pictures — does not gaurantee truth of tale. They could have been misled or been primed by agit-prop stories that have been imbibed, absorbed and are now, today, retailed powerfully and with truth effect. The point here is that GRIEF can distort interpretation and that sympathetic hearts can be misled. A clinical approach must adhere to pragmatism in due measure.

disappearances --Pic WSWS 04-alternative2013-01-30 19.34.38 ++ Continue reading

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Groundviews on Disappearances and the OMP

MISSING -GV 22

Raisa Wickrematunga: “Searching for Answers: The Road to the OMP,” 30 August 2016, https://groundviews.org/2016/08/30/searching-for-answers-the-road-to-the-omp/

Bhavani Fonseka: “The Office on Missing Persons: A New Chapter or Another Empty Promise?” 18 August 2016, https://groundviews.org/2016/08/18/the-office-on-missing-persons-a-new-chapter-or-another-empty-promise/

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