Category Archives: Sinhala-Tamil Relations

The Deep Imprint of Prabhakaran’s Thamililam: Kilinochchi in May 2009

Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda, being an article published in The Island on 17 May 2009 and thereafter in 2010 by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies –with the title “Letters on a Blackboard – A Lost Generation” … being a review is based on the author’s personal impressions and experience of the last Eelam War. Much of the material was gathered during the course of the author’s visits to the war zone between 19 March and 27 April 2009,

The entrance to Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalayam (Kilinochchi High School) is dominated by a large map. Although it is actually a map of Sri Lanka, most of it is blank. One section however, is clear and sharply defined in bright red. Stretching all the way down from the top, it occupies the entire north of the island, snaking down on either side. On the west coast it touches the outskirts of the capital Colombo; on the east, it reaches right down to the deep south. All in all, the red areas encompass more than one third of the entire landmass and almost two thirds of the coastline.

The rest of the country however, does not exist. An empty space in washed out blue, it is barely distinct from the surrounding ocean. The map is entitled “Our Country. Tamil Eelam.” Every day, every student entering and leaving the school would have to file past this map. This was all they knew of Sri Lanka. Recently however, the map has been slighted amended. At the very heart of the blank space, daubed in big letters, are the words “SL ARMY.” Continue reading

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Hillary Quite Contrary: American Zealotry

About Hillary Clinton in public on the world stage on Sri Lanka on 22 April 2009

“One glaring instance of this blinding zealotry in the wielding of power was when Clinton directed a tongue-lashing at the government of Sri Lanka on the 22nd April 2009 for engendering “a terrible humanitarian tragedy.”[1] about 36 hours after all the Western ambassadors had been shown real time aerial footage[2] of some 100-110,000 civilians streaming across the shallow parts of Nandikadal Lagoon to safety in the wake of a remarkable SL Army military operation launched on the night of the 19th April.” …Michael Roberts = https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/the-death-toll-in-2009-deceit-and-myopia-international-and-lankan/#more-25087

             The Exodus 21-24 April 2009    Smoke from air strike in Syria – 1413219939287_wps_33_Smoke_from_an_airstrike_b-300×199.jpg Continue reading

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The Death Toll in 2009: Deceit and Myopia, International and Lankan

 Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph which  accepted the idea in principle several days ago, but requested a division of the essay into six parts.

Discussion of the death toll during Eelam War IV and the related topic of “The Disappeared” has been marked by collective myopia. Most discussions have dwelt in cloud cuckoo-land. This criticism can be levelled at the witch-hunters in the Western international order (whether UN and Western officials, media personnel or Tamil migrants) as well as the liberal humanists within the Sri Lankan middle class supporting a range of allegations. However, it also applies to analysts and reporters in defense of the realm such as Rohan Gunaratna,[1] Shamindra Ferdinando,[2] the editors of Sri Lanka’s print and internet media and many defenders of the Sri Lankan dispensation in its moment of crisis.

 1=Tiger dead assembled by SL Army (MoD Pic)    2 = A body in the Last Redoubt, presumably Tiger (MoDefence Pic)

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The SL Army Medical Corps and Its Services at the Battlefront

Maj Gen Sanjeewa Munasinghe, RWP RSP USP … being a Presentation at the Defence Seminar entitled Defeating Terrorism,” held at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo  between 31st May 2011 to 2nd June 2011 …. with a NOTE by Michael Roberts clarifying the context at the end of the Speech

A medical Division in taking care of the injured and meeting their medical needs, boosts the morale and confidence of the troops. The Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps is a relatively small Division and by 2006 there were only 118 officers and 3200 men of which only a small proportion could be employed in the field. In order to address this problem, a group of infantrymen from each regiment were trained as nursing assistants in the combat life support training course. This extended to all special force personnel, commandos and young medical officers. In addition, all medical officers, nurses and paramedics of the corps were given ample training in handling and managing victims of chemical exposure. At the start of the operation, all male nurses, nursing assistants and medical officers in static Military Hospitals were mobilised to operational and non-operational areas in the field. The Ministry of Health provided civil medical officers, nurses and additional surgical teams to assist in the operation and strengthen army base hospitals.

 Treating civilian casualties –– http://www.defence.lk/picturegallery/picc.asp?tfile=20090121&cat=DUTY

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Amnesty International Agitation: Bowling Googlies for the LTTE?

Shamindra  Ferdinando, in The Island, 19 April 2017, where the title reads “AI’s longstanding ‘alliance’ with the LTTE”

Publicly declining to testify before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that has been tasked by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa to inquire into war crimes allegations, London headquartered Amnesty International (AI) joined the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) to flay Sri Lanka. The LLRC commenced sittings in Aug 2010.  In a joint statement issued on Oct 14, 2010, the three organizations called for a genuine, credible effort to pursue political reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. Declaring that the LLRC had failed to meet what they called minimum international standards for commissions of inquiry, they said: “There is little to be gained by appearing before such a fundamentally flawed commission.”  “Accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka demands an independent international investigation.”

 Francis Boyle Yolande Foster & ??

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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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SWRD Bandaranaike Images from the 1930s ……. and Further On

 Young SWRD  Bandaranaike and Sirima Ratwatte

 SWRD in Gandhian mode – cover of Charkaya and Goyam Keta Continue reading

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