Category Archives: Tamil Tiger fighters

Reporting War. Outrageous Obfuscations during the Last Phase of Eelam War IV

Michael Roberts

The demand for news and the monies generated in mass media mean that journalists attempt to cover modern wars at close quarters. Access to war fronts is dictated by many factors, including location and access as well as the nature of the war terrain. Access to locations where the battle-lines are fluid and changing may be easier than those with definitive war-fronts, though such conditions can turn out to be more fatal – as Western reporters in Libya and Marie Colvin discovered in Syria discovered in 2011/12.

Adie  Colvin Nesmann Birtley

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Reporters struggling with Eelam War IV: Some Recollections and Reports

 Michael Roberts

In addressing the serious issues raised by some of the Western media reportage of the events unfolding during the last phase of Eelam War IV and several seemingly deliberate obfuscations, I recently sent a short set of questions to some Indian journalists who were in Sri Lanka then and also to a few Sri Lankan reporters/cameramen who had been taken to the war front – guided here by an official list available. I have only received responses from a few, but it is enough to set the reflections rolling.

  Journalists in plane en route to war front, circa 27 January —Pic by Kanchan Prasad

These responses throw light on the difficulties faced by journalists in reporting the war and I see them as important appendages to an analytical review that I have already penned in draft form (in progress). Those studying Eelam War IV should pay heed to these recollections, while also visiting the Al Jazeera You-Tube presentations provided by Tony Birtley & David Chater and marveling at the capacities revealed by Sergei de Silva Ranasinghe in deciphering the ups-and-downs of the SL Army progress from distant shores far better than Birtley or those in Colombo who visited the front on conducted tours on some occasions. Continue reading

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Mantovan and Ambos: Two Young European Scholars researching Sri Lankan Issues

 Mantovan  Ambos

The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden reveals the interests of two recent Fellows at IIAS who have been delving into Sri Lankan issues in recent times. Herewith some summaries

Giacomo Mantovan is of Italian lineage:

“My research in social anthropology, which focuses on individuals and their relations with their social milieu, and in particular with state authorities, aims to grasp how certain critical times, such as civil war, exile, and illness, become moments of construction of subjectivity and memory.” Continue reading

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Reconciliation via Cricket and Charity? The Political Ground is a Waterlogged Minefield

Michael Roberts

It is possible that Velupillai Pirapaharan remains a revered leader and symbol of the nationalist drive for Thamililam among some Tamils residing within the island f Sri Lanka today – even though they are circumspect in expressing such thoughts in public. Indeed, it is possible that some Tamils in the island worship him as a deity in the manner espoused in some quarters abroad by Tamils of the diaspora (see image below).

So, how does one measure the political reverberations of the well-meaning efforts towards reconciliation and the bridging of the Tamil-Sinhala divide delineated in several essays presented recently[1] in THUPPAHI?

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Cricketing Amity, September 2002: Janashakthi XI vs Jaffna District Cricket XI

During the ceasefire period after Eelam War III some leading members of the cricketing world in Colombo reached out in reconciliatory mood to Jaffna by organising a high-profile cricket match.[i]

Enthusiastic Jaffna Fans mob Murali

Chandra Schaffter: The Jaffna Match, 1 September 2002

With Ranil Wickremesinghe becoming Prime Minister in 2001, a ceasefire agreement was negotiated with the LTTE and the A9 was opened after many years. Janashakthi took the opportunity to open its Jaffna branch in August Because of our association with cricket, we felt that the best way would be to stage a cricket match which would bring the enthusiastic cricket fans in Jaffna out of their homes.  It was a major rush but my son Ramesh,who was adept at such events, began organizing the match as well as the  opening of the branch.  I had just returned to Sri Lanka after managing the cricket team in the UK and I had agreed with a team of about 15 of the cricketers to go up to Jaffna in a special bus and play a match – not so much for cricket per se but in order to create an impression in Jaffna.

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ELIYA launched as Challenge to the Present Lankan-US Dispensation

Shamindra Ferdinando, in The Island, 12 September 2017, with title “A challenging task for Gotabhaya”

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The high profile launch of Eliya (light) by wartime Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa underscored Sri Lanka’s PATHETIC failure to counter unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, directed by a section of the international community, since the conclusion of the war, in May 2009. Sri Lanka paid a very heavy price for its failure and the previous government can never absolve itself of the responsibility for the situation. Continue reading

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The War is Past. Paradise is Regained

Michael Buerk,  in the The Telegraph, 5 September 2017, where the title is “The war is history: Michael Buerk returns to Sri Lanka” ** Note Editorial Comment at End 

The Tigers’ lair was deep in the jungle. It was difficult to find and tough to get to; two hours jolting, semi-prone, in a trailer dragged by a tractor, watching for mines. This was a war zone for decades. The paddy fields were abandoned long ago to the peacocks and their perpetual courtship, dozens of them everywhere, each male made fabulous by desire. The man-made lake that once fed the fields was covered in lotus flowers. A crocodile basked on a rock in the shallows, jaws gaping as if in wonder at the lonely beauty of it all. Well into the thicker brush, down a maze of paths and tunnels through the thorn trees, we came first to what was left of the Tigers’ guard post. Just rubble now where 30 fighters held part of the perimeter of what was, in effect, a separate state. Their latrine, the only recognisable structure left, was now home to a 15ft Indian rock python.

  Buerk was in Sri Lanka for the BBC at the beginning of the war, in the Eighties

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