Category Archives: Tamil civilians

Visiting Jaffna Today in July 2018: Misconceptions and Issues

Jehan Perera in Island, 23 July 2018, where the title is “Coping With Nationalism In Jaffna Through Engagement”

Early in the morning as I walked down a street in Jaffna, I heard a cry “Annai, annai.” Initially, I took no notice and kept on walking, but the cry was persistent. So I looked back to see two small children behind the gate of their house. I smiled at them and recommenced my walk. But again the cry “Annai, annai” rent the air. This time I turned back and walked to the source of the sound. The elder one, a girl of about six years of age, ran away but the little one, a boy of no more than three stood his ground. Eyes gleaming and with a drippy nose he stood and smiled. I reached out through the chained gate and stroked the top of his head and he laughed happily and ran away.

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Profound Flaws in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Victory Speech in May, 2009

Michael Roberts

 This article was penned in Sri Lanka in late May 2009 on invitation from Muralidhar Reddy and appeared in FRONTLINE as lead article on Volume 26 – Issue 12 :: Jun. 06-19, 2009  with the title “Some Pillars for Lanka’s Future” and with a significant guideline photograph of the Ceylonese gentleman of varied ethnicity who pressed for constitutional reform in the 1900s and 1910son the foundations of all island thinking – albeit with an elitist upper-class bias. Note the radical proposal at the end of the article –which has  died without any takers …so there is no thinking outside the box.

Frontline also inserted this comment at the start: “Rajapaksa should match his sweet words with political reforms that institutionalise devolution and reach out to Tamil minds.”

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USA’s Threatening Interventions during the Eelam War in 2009

Michael Roberts

This essay is an effort to unravel the whispers about an American military team’s secret mission to Sri Lanka at the height of the SL armed forces successful squeeze on the LTTE in 2009. The political significance of such a mission is profound and there are numerous tangential issues that are also significant.

The opening to this inquiry in 2018 was provided by Chandre Dharma-wardana’s welcome initiative in making an ethnographic notation about information mentioned by Foreign Minister Bogollagama in 2012. This item led me (earlier this year) to link it with other ‘mórsels’ of information and to explore the pressures mounted on the GoSL by the Western powers during the last phase of Eelam War IV in 2009. These inquiries have now produced additional information – morsels once again, but enough to take further steps in unravelling the interventions of USA and its allies. I will mark them in point form as A, B, C et cetera.

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How Mahinda Rajapaksa rebuffed David Miliband

Michael Roberts

In 2008/09 Professor GL PEIRIS was Minister of International Trade in the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and I interviewed him on 2 July 2018 with the intention of securing more details re USA’s pressures on the government then in 2009.[1] GL Peiris did not have any details about one of my particular pursuits, namely, the PACOM’s recce visit to the island, but in response to my initial query he focused upon the pressures mounted by the EU team of David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner[2] [which was in late April 2009 after the SL Army had penetrated the LTTE’s Last Redoubt and released over 110,000 Tamil civilians and Tiger deserters].

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Life and Death for SL Army Infantrymen on the Vanni Battlefront

Sinha-Raja Tammita Delgoda[1]

As a layman who blundered into a war of his own volition and someone who has lived in and worked in the Weli Oya border region for 6 months,[2] I think you are absolutely right in your stress on the difficulties encountered by infantry soldiers and the critical relevance of specific landscapes. Let me quote relevant segments from one of the Manekshaw papers published by India’s Centre For Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

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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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The Personal Touch in Diplomacy seen within the Troika 2008/09 … But Then …!!!

Rajiva Wijesinha, in Island, 13 June 2017, where the title is “The Troika and the importance of individuals” with the highlighting  being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

I have read with interest the accounts by Lalith Weeratunge and Dayan Jayatilleke of the way in which a Troika managed relations between India and Sri Lanka during the war period. Lalith’s account is most illuminating, in explaining how our three representatives, Lalith himself and Gotabhaya and Basil Rajapaksa, ensured the confidence of the Indians, even though the latter were nervous about possible reactions in Tamil Nadu.

ALOK PRASAD

But I believe Dayan is correct in drawing attention to the policy commitments underlying the very positive relationship they nurtured in those crucial years. And I think Dayan is also correct in noting that we need to look also at what happened afterwards, and how the benefits of what the Troika achieved were squandered. Continue reading

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