Category Archives: Tamil Tiger fighters

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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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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American Power, American Shambles — Lanka 2009

Two Insights from the Sri Lankan scenario in early 2009 during the last stages of  Eelam War IV which I re-discovered in going through an essay based on a Skype chat with Gotabaya Rajapaksa and investigation among the US Embassy despatches to Washington open to the world via Wikieaks

A = Ambassador Robert Blake to Gota: “We are Americans. We will teach them a lesson and even bomb them if need be.” –– in response to Gotabaya’s scepticism about the Tiger leadership’s readiness to accept international intervention to save the threatened civilian  population in the remnant LTTE stronghold on the coastal shores abutting Nandikadal Lagoon [in the course of an amiable conversation on either the 11th or 15th April 2009

 

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The War Dead in Sri Lanka: Deceit and Ignorance Rule the Air Waves

      Both these images are from TamilNet and were part of the extensive stock sent to me in 2009/10 by “Citizen Silva” aka IDAG. The first is dated 6 April 2009 and the second 28 April 2009

ONE = Michael Roberts: “Introduction”

When I presented an essay on  “Missing Persons” in Groundviews in March 2013 the reactions were, as usual, mixed and included a derisive dismissal from one “Velu Balendran”.[1] However, one individual named Nathan inserted a dose of common sense and also introduced readers – as well as myself – to a pertinent article by two Indians, Ajay Sahni & S. Binodkumar Singh in the Indian magazine Outlook.

I do not know Nathan and where he resides, but am deeply grateful to him. As I am now returning to this topic, I believe that readers should be introduced to his brief thoughts and led to the article he recommended. I will thereafter insert key bibliographic references on the topic from my original essay and its companion piece; while also embellishing this ‘compendium’ with images that provide a glimpse of the context and assorted outcomes in indelible ways beyond words.

TWO = Nathan, 1 April 2013, extract from http://groundviews.org/2013/03/28/a-missing-person-in-sri-lanka-heartfelt-issues-ground-realities/

It’s a shame that people have failed to read and grasp the thrust of Dr Michael Robert’s article . Continue reading

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Daya’s Study of Suicide Bombers of Sri Lanka

http://repo.jfn.ac.lk/med/bitstream/701/1011/1/Somasundaram-Suicide%20bombers%20of%20Sri%20Lanka.pdf

Daya Somasundaram … http://repo.jfn.ac.lk/med/bitstream/701/1011/1/Somasundaram-Suicide%20bombers%20of%20Sri%20Lanka.pdf

 image of Asian Journal of Social Sciencedaya-11

ABSTRACT  The phenomena of suicide bombers in Sri Lanka share some similarities with but also have some marked differences with what is seen in other parts of world today. Increasing discrimination, state humiliation and violence against the minority Tamils brought out a militancy and the phenomena of suicide bombers. The underlying socio-political and economical factors in the North and East of Sri Lanka that caused the militancy at the onset are examined. Some of these factors that were the cause of or consequent to the conflict include: extrajudicial killing of one or both parents or relations by the state; separations, destruction of home and belongings during the war; displacement; lack of adequate or nutritious food; ill health; economic difficulties; lack of access to education; not seeing any avenues for future employment and advancement; social and political oppression; and facing harassment, detention and death. At the same time, the Tamil militants have used various psychological methods to entice youth, children and women to join and become suicide bombers. Public displays of war paraphernalia, posters of fallen heroes, speeches and video, particularly in schools and community gatherings, heroic songs and stories, public funeral rites and annual remembrance ceremonies draw out feelings of patriotism and create a martyr cult. The religio-cultural context of the Tamils has provided meaning and symbols for the creation and maintenance of this cult, while the LTTE has provided the organisational capacity to train and indoctrinate a special elite as suicide bombers. Whether the crushing of the LTTE militarily by the state brings to an end the phenomena of suicide bombers or whether it will re-emerge in other forms if underlying grievances are not resolved remains to be seen.

KEY WORDS: Altruistic suicide; Ethnic conflict; Insurgency; Sacrifice; Sri Lanka; Suicide bombers Continue reading

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Being an ex-Tiger Today. Where have all the roads gone, long time passing!

Arthur Wamanan & Ruwan Laknath Jayakody courtesy of The Nation, 11 March 2017, where the title is The battle after the war”

Life continues to be a struggle for 45-year-old Kathir, a former Tamil Tiger combatant, and his family. Kathir was one of the 12,000 Tiger cadres who underwent a rehabilitation process soon after the end of the war. Kathir was lucky to be released after a year of rehabilitation. “I was disabled due to the war and therefore my time at rehabilitation centres was just one year,” he said.

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The Liberation Tigers’ in Crisis

Gerald H. Peiris, being a reprint of Chapter Six in his Twilight of the Tigers,  Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2009, with Vijitha Yapa Publications in Colombo as local distributors, pp. 151-77 … a reprint inspired by the presentation of Jeremy Liyanage’s Q and A with Karuna in mid-2010.

tamil-eelam  karuna7

The contents of this chapter, except its ‘Introductory Notes’ and the ‘Postscript’, are based almost entirely on an article titled “An Assessment of the Current Crisis among the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” written by me in March 2004 while the events that constituted the early stages of the revolt led by ‘Colonel Karuna’ against the Vanni-based Tiger leadership were unfolding in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.  It was published by the Jane’s Information Group, UK. Written as it was in the context of acute paucity of documented information on the rapidly changing and bewilderingly complex scenario in the ‘north-east’ of Sri Lanka at that time, the article contained a fair amount of reasoned speculation. Here, in this chapter, I have retained the original article largely unchanged mainly for the reason that some of my speculations and predictions proved subsequently to be correct. The changes of the original article made in the formulation of this chapter have involved only some alterations of tense, and the addition of foo-notes for clarification and substantiation, and a ‘postscript’, intended to update the impact of the events examined in the article from the viewpoint of the thematic concerns of this volume.   Gerald Peiris

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