Monday, March 16, 2009

A dialogue on the Situation in Sri Lanka

Last month I spent many hours writing in a Facebook discussion thread my view on the current conflict. It was taken from some contacts of a friend of mine where the simple message was posted

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing, there is a field.
I will meet you there."

Muhammad Jalal al-Din al-Balkhi al-'Rumi'
Muslim mystic and poet
Born 1207, Afghanistan


The resulting dialogue was between a group of individuals who were largely unknown to me, both Sinhala and Tamil Sri Lankans who I believe are in the 20-40 age group, living overseas and within.

Whilst the conversation that ensues in by no means any representation of view, i found the conversation painful, yet revealing, about some of the extremely disparate views that exist out there (including my own when compared with others perhaps). I found the temperament of some of the individuals who I was having discussion with "challenging" but I learned a lot from this person so I thank him for this - infact it was this person who inspired my poems "war of minds" and "helicopters in the sky" which were posted earlier in this blog.

There are many links within the conversation that are useful.

It is my strong belief (as you will see with my comments) that the TRO videos are largely, if not totally LTTE propoaganda (that is there to aid their methods of suicide bombing and child recruitment) but I think everything is worth viewing. Similarly some of the articles that have been linked are government propaganda to make the situation look better than it is (which is as one of my friends said to me recently - "dire").

I have asked permission from those in the conversation to reproduce their comments and there has been no objection so far (and a few have actively okayed) - i will remove the comments of those who do not which to be on my blog.

The whole dialogue is rather long but i figure is it is a webpage so you can quickly scroll through the sections that you don't read. And cut out and edit parts of this dialogue is like adulterating the beads of truth that intertwine this collection of comments and views of a few individuals from Jan 30th to March 5th 2009.

There are quite a number of similar dialogues in facebook groups and other more academic web based organisations (such as ground views) that I occassionally post in. However, I find that a lot of people don't actually read or partake in these discussions which is why i wanted to provide such exposure here on my blog (I feel people not partaking in these discussions is perfectly reasonable for, as you can see below, the discusions can be very insensitive, and disparate from what the contributing people seem to be arguing for - ie respect for human life, and obviously quite painful for many to read). Also what i find regarding online discussion regarding the Sri Lankan situation is that these groups, or at least the people writing their views, are limited to only a handful of individuals - often the ones who "shout the loudest", or think their views is the most important and corrrect (I hope i'm not too guilty of this... actually i'm very shy when it comes to posting and have only recently been trying to get over this).

What I would like is for everyone to contribute just a little piece of their own view - as then we'd get a much clearer picture of what is going on so as always - please post your comments - i for one am very interested in what you think (even if you think the opposite of me) - On that note I really do hope I have not offended anyone in this post - or any of my other posts. I really do with all my heart stand for a peaceful united world - if you think that my ideas are not conducive to this then please "tell me" for I shall not be able to bear the blame for something that I am ignorant of when actively seeking my faults yet getting no reply....

I hope this is of some value for you.

Beginning of Dialogue

January 30 at 4:40pm

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing, there is a field.
I will meet you there."

Muhammad Jalal al-Din al-Balkhi al-'Rumi'
Muslim mystic and poet
Born 1207, Afghanistan

January 31 at 1:45am

thanks but no thanks,
i've never seen myself as being a "sri lankan"...

i'm a Tamil American from Tamil Eelam or Celyon.

y'all can have sri lanka and be sri lankan's - i will never be...

hope to see you at the protest tomorrow dushy...

STOP THE GENOCIDE...!!!

peace...
January 31 at 2:11am
Arjun, I'm surprised and disappointed to see that you prefer the colonial term Ceylonese to Sri Lankan. Both sides are guilty of appalling human rights abuses, although no one can dispute that the Government is the root cause of the problems.

Neither side can win this war that is wiping out our people. Like it or not, a federal system is the only way forward. We can not achieve this if we go on having a them and us attitude.
I don't have a "them & us" attitude... i just believe in human rights and self determination...

well, it's a long story but names are important... Like Amparai or Kantalai... and many others have been changed on the maps to the sinhala Ampara & Kantale as they were colonized under state sponsored colonization of the east...

The name "sri lanka" was chosen in 1972 when the constitution was changed and Section 29 (2) was omitted in the new constitution... (see text of sect 29 (2) below)... the ratification of the constitution was illegal and so in my opinion so was the name (sri lanka)... and the omission of 29 (2), which is why a new constitution was written, broke the social covenant between the tamils & sinhalese, thus reverting the tamils to their precolonial status as a separate nation...

LTTE offered federalism in oslo... govt never responded... i'm all for federalism... i'm TamilAmerican afterall! FEDERALISM ROCKS... states rights etc... African Americans are about 12% of the US population... as are Tamils in SL... could a Tamil be elected president in SL... EVER? hahaha

Soulbury Constitution
Section 29 (2) No such law shall -

(a) prohibit or restrict the free exercise of any religion; or

(b) make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions are not made liable; or

(c) confer on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which is not conferred on persons of other communities or religions,

anyway, this is boring for all the others in this and so i shall stop... feel free to email me privately if you feel like continuing this...
" SL... could a Tamil be elected president in SL... EVER? hahah"

let me mention a TWO NAMES!! Neelan Tiruchelvam, Lakshman Kadiragama!! Two people who could easily have been elected to be prime minister if not president one day!!! They would have certainly had my vote!! but alas.....

On your note on the constitutional amendment! Yes that was a mistake we are all still paying for. But then again old folks made stupid mistakes all over the world. Think about it! when that amendment was made black people couldn’t travel the same bus with white folks in some parts of the US. Now the US has a black president representing all the peoples of America. Now when we too can let go of the past and step up to the challenges facing all the people of Sri Lanka, then may be we can do something. OR conversely we can harp back to past injustices, stick to colonial names and wallow in sorrow for what it could have been and sow further division!

Your choice brother Arujunan!

damit, i just typed out a long response and then bloody browser quit... can't be bothered/don't have enough time to do it again right now... maybe later "bro"

by the way "bro" it's arjunan not arujunan...
February 2 at 3:07pm
Thank you all for your views. If you would like, please mail each other directly to continue as I'm not sure if everyone in this list wants to be involved in a long drawn out, animated, discussion.

I do think though, politics aside, let's just get the people safely out of the war zone, facilitated by the ICRC. That's got to be the priority right now and I think everyone agrees on this.

shouldn't 'ave started it dushy if you didn't want a "conversation"... you put it out there...

and as far as your statement goes: "I think everyone agrees on this." that's a big assumption... i know i don't...

Canadian reporter Stephanie Nolan at the Border Checkpoint to the Vanni (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090123.wsrilanka0123/BNStory/International/)

"...these people stand on one side of the checkpoint, awaiting a long and unpleasant "security screening" by government soldiers hunting for any sign they have links with the Tigers. Those who pass muster — and most men 14 to 45 years old don't even bother to try — are waved through and taken to a refugee camp, where they will live behind thick coils of razor wire, forbidden to leave.

But no one here is talking about the other line in Vavuniya, the one five times as long — the line of people desperate to go back the other way. No one admits what it says about the chances for real peace in Sri Lanka that so many people see more hope for their families in a war zone than in the calm of the government-held side."

why should people have to move... i wouldn't want to go to govt controlled areas especially if i had (as most do) relatives in the LTTE... unless you've done a poll or something i'd have to assume that the people choose to be there... i mean can the LTTE, as "weak" as they are, fight off 150,000 SL Army, 3500 indian troops, AND at the same time keep 350,000 civilians from walking through the jungle if they really wanted to? c'mon...

why is everyone hell bent on making the IDPs come out...? why not just call for them to have the right to take refuge in an area they chose...

did the int'l community call for israel & hamas to allow the civillians in gaza to move to Israel "away from the fighting..."?

didn't the whole world instead ask israel for a ceasefire and to allow reporters, humanitarian organizations, and humanitarian assistance into Gaza...

why the different approaches to the situ in the Vanni...? is it antisemitism that makes the rules different of Israel when compared to SL?

it seems to me hypocritical for the international community to say that the LTTE are "forcing the civilians" to remain in the vanni... MOST of these people are relatives of the LTTE and/or are afraid that they will be tortured or disappeared (like in jaffna & the east) because the GOSL ASSUMES that they are "LTTE sympythizers"...

did you know that 40,000 civilians chose to displaced INTO the vanni in 2006-2008 because they felt safer there?

that 20 civilians chose to go there 2 weeks ago...?
i think we can all agree on this:
"gosl should stop attacks on hospitals & the "safe zone" they themselves identified and the GoSL should all humanitarian assistance & UN & iNGOs into the vanni to do needs assessments ON A PERMANENT BASIS... in essence just follow international humanitarian law...

watch this from TRO Vanni (editing & graphics by moi):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y0_e1fhKaM&feature=channel_page
Arjunan, sorry for misspelling your name earlier! No offence was intended.

The video you posted was truly disturbing and upsetting. Even though it was a TOR production produced specifically to target the Tamil Diaspora it nevertheless shows people undergoing immense suffering. The other side would argue that this is EXACTLY what the LTTE wanted to orchestrate. Restrict civilian movement and place artillery launching pads adjacent to refugee camps with the specific aim of drawing fire. You think the Wanni is full of camera ready TOR people in case this happens? Pragmatically why would the SLA expend USD1000 artillery shells to kill a few babies and old women? You nor I can never really know the real situation, can we?

But I do agree with you that the two sides should cooperate. I would rephrase your statement as such

"The LTTE and the GOSL should agree on safe zones and avoid any military activity within and in 1km radius of these areas.”

Anyway, I do not think that this debate is going to change your stance Arjunan! I have had similar debates for years with many in Colombo. They have exactly the same argument as you: but just replace the word “Tamil” with “Sinhala”. They still show videos of the LTTE massacre of 146 Buddhist pilgrims at the Sri Maha Bodhi temple in Anuradhapura or talk about the Kebithigollewa massacre, the Gonagala massacre etc and justify further animosity and war. I personally don’t think we can really solve anything in this manner.

P.S. the Palestinians are not allowed to enter Israel

are yo dyslexic... it's TRO... not TOR... anyway... if it's just propaganda why doesn't the Govt all the media & UN to go to vanni freely? what's to hide?

i reeaaaaaly want to rip you a new one... but i don't have the time and i'm going to "respect" dushy's wishes... for now... but when i have the time i'll be back...

peace out...
"i reeaaaaaly want to rip you a new one"!!!!@$

Yo!! I am out of this one......

haha
Suraj Thevasagayam
February 5 at 9:57pm
Ok guys....I only know Dushy and Arjunan...I don't even know who you are brother...but nevertheless...

I would like you to ask YOUR government to stop the war immediately and start PEACE negotiations right now to stop ANY lives (be it Tamil) from being taken away.

If you are talking about the LTTE bombing the bikkus or any Sinhalese persons...then I am sorry for the loss...But please take a moment and review the statistics of how many Tamils and Snghalese have been killed in this war in the past 25 years...and I mean civillians...not armed forces from both sides...the answer should stare at you even before you think !!! And if you don't see that... Oh well...guess you havent lived in Jaffna or any other city in Tamil Eelam...oh hang on..........I am guessing you lived in Colombo (where what you listen and hear is what the govt of SL preaches to you) or you live overseas.

So which is it BROTHER ?!??!?!?

I Lived in Jaffna when it was in the hands of the LTTE and we were safe until the Gove of SL started bombing and shelling the penninsula...the LTTE were the only ones to tell us how to minimise casualties when such events occured and to minimise injuries.

If you tll me thast thet LTTE were just trying to get us on their side... YOU BETTER THNK TWICE !!!

The Govt of SL had many chances...but they blew it...even in front of my eyes...a 13 year old. I was there when it all happened and I was there when the Indian Army came to help you guys (WOW...nothing different from right now is it...)

Anyway, all differences aside...human lives must be cherished...so please tell yor friends and family to pressurre the Govt of SL to stop the GENOCIDE of Tamilks right now and go to the negotiating table to avoid further Tamil lives lost !!! If you CARE for the TAMILS...that is !!!

Up to you...BROTHER...
February 5 at 11:56pm
I'm not sure how hurling insult at each other is going to help anyone but if you must do it, DO IT ON YOUR OWN MAILING LIST. I'm getting complaints from others on the list.

Show some respect please.
shouldn't have sent it out then, no?
tell them they can just click delete without opening if they don't want to read 'em...

how's things with you anyway?
when's the wedding?
XXX
Editorial Tamil Guardian 04 February 2009

The Co-Chairs have left the Tamil people’s fate in their hands.
In recent weeks the Sri Lankan military has begun massacring Tamil civilians in Vanni. Hundreds of people, including many children, have been killed or maimed in widespread and intense artillery and rocket bombardments. Hospitals, refugee camps and settlements have been targeted and hit hard. Having maintained a complete silence for months amid the killings, abductions, mass displacements and so on, the self-styled Co-Chairs of the 'peace process' (the US, EU, Japan and Norway) spoke up this week. If the Tamils had expected these custodians of international law, liberal norms, global justice, etc to condemn Sri Lanka's slaughter, they were quite mistaken. The underwriters of the 2002-2006 'peace' intervention instead told the LTTE to surrender its weapons and fall at President Mahinda Rajapakse's feet - so that the Tamils may be spared further suffering. This then is the simple choice the international community has left the Tamils: 'die on your feet or live on your knees'.

The Co-Chairs' statement is required reading for all Tamils. It is worth remembering these are the same international actors who swaggered up in 2001 to make liberal peace in Sri Lanka. To this end, they armed the Sri Lankan state (engaged in some 'security sector reform' along the way), revived the economy (in the Sinhala South), withheld aid from the Tamil northeast, and did their best to corner and weaken the LTTE. Because to them it is the LTTE, not six decades of Sinhala state chauvinism that is the problem. It is therefore worth remembering that the suffering heaped on the Tamil people in the past few years was prepared, funded, facilitated and encouraged by the international custodians of the 'peace process'.

On the one hand, the Co-Chairs statement this week - note that it was co-signed by the peace facilitator, Norway also - can be rightly seen as callous disregard for the suffering of the Tamil people. But it was ever thus, as those Tamils who refused to place their faith in international commitment to a just peace kept pointing out - even in the halcyon days (anyone remember the fuss about federalism?). It should be recalled that it was only aid to the Tamil areas that these donors made conditional on 'progress on the peace process', that international monitors point-blank refused to accept the military' continued occupation of tens of thousands of Tamil homes, schools and so on as breaches of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, and how they dismissed out of hand entire the agitation for self-determination staged by the Tamil people.

On the other hand, the Co-Chairs statement can also be seen as the final collapse of the international liberal project in Sri Lanka. Faced with the unmasked vehemence of Sinhala nationalism, they have no challenge, only accommodation, to offer. In other words, for all their rhetoric about human rights, democracy, pluralism, and such, when faced with the implacable hostility to all this by the Sinhala people (remember Rajapakse is universally popular amongst them), the international custodians of global liberalism are now merely seeking ways to get along, to 'make peace', with Sinhala chauvinism. No talk of now of 'conflict transformation' or 'peace-building'- unless, of course, it is teaching the Tamils to speak Sinhala or funding the Sinhala colonization of Tamil and Muslim lands (it's still called "development")

The point is this. These international actors never had the stomach to take on the Sinhala state's chauvinism. Instead they long pretended it doesn't exist, even as the signs were all around. Now, when it's in their faces, they simply bow to its ferocity - and ask the Tamils to do the same. Once the LTTE surrenders to Dutugemenu, the Co-Chairs will apparently "ensure an inclusive dialogue to agree on a political settlement so that lasting peace and reconciliation can be achieved." Well, we know how that’ll go.

The Co-Chairs have thus reduced the possibility of Tamils securing their rights - and their survival as a people - to the outcome of the battlefield. Having done all they can to stack the odds in favour of the Lion, they are leaving our future up to the Tiger. As we have argued before, it was Sinhala chauvinism that brought war to the island: armed struggle emerged as Tamil resistance. In that sense, the ferocity of the conflict is a test of two people's wills: the Sinhalese strive to crush the Tamils (and other minorities) and the Tamils, on the other hand, refuse to go quietly into the night. Therefore the crucial lesson for the Tamils is this: if we successfully stand firm against Sinhala hegemony, the international community will simply accept the outcome of the struggle. They have now lost all hope in a harmonious Sri Lanka - just as we did a long time ago.
February 6 at 12:57am
Dushy Pillai wrote
January 30 at 4:40pm


"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing, there is a field.
I will meet you there."

Dear Dushy, thank you for including me in this thread, there is much work to do with all the hatred that exists between some members of the different ethnic and political groups. Let it be known that most of these discussion groups usually consists of a few highly charged individuals that do not represent the views of the majority

Arjunan, Surah and Chaminda. Thanks for your comments.

Systematically I will make my responses in a moment,

But first of all - Dushy I would like to thank you for your quote that i copied again abolve - what you have written is by far the most sensible piece of discussion.

Let us not live in the past but think of our futures together. Sri Lanka is a wonderful country with immense potential that we all love in some form or other - even those who post denying that they care for it, as they wouldn't othewise be so emotionally charged.

So what kind of country do we want? A country that is plagued by the wrongdoings of the past or even the present, or a country that is already working towards a constructive future?

I will definitely meet you in the Field and there will be many more people waiting there. Arjunan - i hope you find the forgiveness in yourself to join us there - for humanities sake. I know it's tough but the hatred will only make you ill

(true) Peace
bishan

February 6 at 1:09am
Ajrunan

Thanks for the information about Section 20 (2) being ommitted in the new constitution of Sri Lanka, i wasn't aware of this.

Your entry implied however that new constitution with the removal of

Soulbury Constitution
Section 29 (2) No such law shall -

(a) prohibit or restrict the free exercise of any religion; or

(b) make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions are not made liable; or

(c) confer on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which is not conferred on persons of other communities or religions,

was going to be discriminatory against minorities

However a simple google search will take you to the link for the current constitution of Sri Lanka

http://www.priu.gov.lk/Cons/1978Constitution/Chapter_03_Amd.htm

Under Chapter III - on fundamental rights you will find that the following

Right to equality.

12. (1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

(2) No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any such grounds:

Provided that it shall be lawful to require a person to acquire within a reasonable time sufficient knowledge of any language as a qualification for any employment or office in the Public, Judicial or Local Government Service or in the service of any public corporation, where such knowledge is reasonably necessary for the discharge of the duties of such employment or office:

Provided further that it shall be lawful to require a person to have sufficient knowledge of any language as a qualification for any such employment of office where no function of that employment or office can be discharged otherwise than with a knowledge of that language.

(3) No person shall, on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex or any one such grounds, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment and places of public worship of his own religion.

(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent special provision being made, by law, subordinate legislation or executive action, for the advancement of women, children or disabled persons.

So basically - the current constitution is to protect religious and ethnic diversity.
February 6 at 1:29am
Chaminda Rajapakse

February 2 at 12:54pm
Reply
" SL... could a Tamil be elected president in SL... EVER? hahah"

let me mention a TWO NAMES!! Neelan Tiruchelvam, Lakshman Kadiragama!! Two people who could easily have been elected to be prime minister if not president one day!!!

Thanks for your point here Chaminda.

Lakshman Kadirigama was the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka and a Tamil Person who believed in addressing the Tamil Cause through the mainstream democratic process. He clearly expressed his views that whilst he was a Tamil person who was for the Tamil people he would never comprimise his integrity to go along with immoral methods of getting a message accros such as using child recruitment, forced conscription, and child recruitement. He eloquently expressed this viewpoint in a BBC Hard talk interview.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/4373059.stm

He also was very high up in the order of the government at the time before he was assassinated by the LTTE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshman_Kadirgamar

Why would a group that claimed to be representative of the Tamil Cause kill someone like this? This question has never been adequately answered to me by people who support the LTTE movement.

One of my good friends who is a Tamil Expatriate said he had never heard of Lakshamn Kadirigama - this was somewhat understandable as he had left Sri Lanka as a chid. However, what was somewhat perturbing to me was to how one sided the information reaching people can be. This friend did know about the struggles of the LTTE but had no response to my question above because he did not know that Sri Lanka actually had a top level democratically elected politician in the government in power until he was killed by the LTTE who likes to portray, as well as create, a government that has limited representation of minorities, particularly Tamil minorities.

This is why i put the Wikipedia link for those who had not heard him.

Bless his soul. Bless also the souls of all those who have been killed in this terrible conflict.
February 6 at 2:03am
Ram Pillai

January 31 at 2:11am
"a federal system is the only way forward. We can not achieve this if we go on having a them and us attitude"

Thanks for your view point Ram. I agree, some sort of democratic power sharing is the way forward.

The lack of decentralized power that currently exists doesn't only negatively impact on Tamil predominant areas, but all provinces in Sri Lanka.

Colombo is so developed compared to the more outstation regions. However development is occurring and with ongoing collective effort I believe this solution is possible.

With regards to the Tamil and Sinhala people (an other minorities) an "us and them" attitude is definitely not helpful.

This is why i never understand the dream of Eelam because when I have spoken to supporters of this concept they are very much into separatism, (ie a place where Sinhalese would not be welcome, as one friend argued, despite wanting to take over the East of Sri Lanka which is of mixed ethnicity).

I can understand well the concept of having a homeland, but a homeland to share with others. This is attitude for Government controlled Sri Lanka at present - the Tamil people are welcome by all Sri Lankans. This is not to say that discrimination doesn't exist - of course it does, especially seeing there is armed conflict that is going on in the north right now, which means that Tamils are sadly character profiled as terrorists in the south.

However, to illustrate my point - The night before independence day in our house in a suburb of Colombo there was a night time street parade of a local Hindu community (who would have been predominantly Sri Lankan Tamils, on their way to the local Kovil)

The group of 80-100 were dancing and playing instruments, riding on Floats and generally parading their culture "loud and proud", the way it should be, and evidently "is" in 2009. It was a joyous occasion, and it was done with the smiles of the onlooking neighborhood which were mixed races (but predominantly Sinhalese). I took a photo which showed a Buddihist temple in the background of the Hindu devotees on one side, and a Sri Lanka flag also flying loud and proud from the house of one the neighbours houses on the other.

That moment made me realise what i've always known about Sri Lanka - it is a country rich in diversity of culture and ethnicity and embracing of different cultures.

The problem we are all emotional people and we get caught up on the "us and them" attitudes which are only confusing us about our common human link, as well as being caught up in the past wrong doings (of all sides) rather than looking forward to the utopia we could create together - NOW!

(this story of the Hindu pilgrims parading was on 3.2.09 by the way, not 30 years ago. This is not the story that one would expect if one was to ride on the impressions of the facebook symbols that both Arjunan and Ram have for their profiles which leads me on to my next post about "genocide")

February 6 at 2:15am
folks, please spend your energy into more useful pursuits such as lobbying your governments, the UN etc into stopping the massacre.
February 6 at 3:00am
Is there Genocide in Sri Lanka

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_definitions

To me the word genocide is one that depicts hatred by the inciting party, but in addition to this the list of definitions involve the concepts of "intent to destroy"

Wikepedia's definition is:
"Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide

Arjunan and Ram - do you really believe that the Sri Lankan nation is trying to deliberately and systematically destroy the Tamil culture and ethnicity as both of your Facebook images would imply?

I am speaking honestly and asking you "honestly" do you think this is what the Sri Lankan nation is doing or wants?

And to help me interpret your answer - do either of you "currently" live in Sri Lanka. If so please lets meet for a coffee and talk about this (I am serious about this).

It greatly disturbs me that people have been so deeply affected by their direct experiences, or perhaps just the information that has been given to them, that they believe this.

In short to those who are reading this and have not made up their mind - please don't - don't make up your mind always keep it open, as a closed mind lends itself to the violence that currently perils Sri Lanka and it people.

From my experience, as person who has been living and working in Sri Lanka for 3 years, in places as far south as Galle, and north as Anuradhapura, central as Kandy and East as Colombo and Puttulum, someone who has talked to associates of the UN, Human rights organisations, Diplomats from various countries and members of civil society, including journalists film makers, and most importantly, from someone who has a deep respect and compassion for ALL people in this country. I do not believe there is "Genocide" of the Tamil people either now or in the past (at least in Post independance past that is)

There HAVE been terrible atrocities of and violations of human rights that makes us all sick, both currently and during JVP times. There have been heinous riots targeting Tamils (carried out by minoritiy of sinhala extremists), such as in the black July Pogrom of 1983 - but no Genocide as the commonly claimed by LTTE supporters.

Even in 1983 when the Sri Lanka saw it's darkest day in modern times - do we think that there was a systematized drive to eradicate the Tamil people and remove all traces of their existance?

Who then were the poeple who protected those perpetrated and risked their own lives in the process? What of the MP's who spoke out against this (they were a minority but there was at least one Kandy MP who fought against the rights, and i have spoke to personally about this)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_July

Black July was a terrible event that occurred because of a minority of Sinhala thugs murderous actions after the LTTE's provocation of killing 12 Sinahalese Army soldiers in a time when killing wasn't as commonplace as it sadly is today. The lack of response by the government of the time, was appalling. But as Chaminda mentioned we are still all suffering for this.

I am sorry for this - for the suffering that occurred. We all are sorry for for what happend. The Sinhalese, and the whole of society. Perhaps not the perpetrators.

Only in Sri Lanka people are not good at saying sorry. It's not just Sri Lanka. When i lived in Australia in 2000 we walked across the Harbour bridge in protest for John Howard (the Then Prime Minster) not saying "sorry" for the treatment and annihilation of the "forgotten generations" of Australian Aboriginies,

http://www.unolympics.com/reconciliation/sorry.shtml

Anyway back to my original question - is there genocide in Sri Lanka?

If there was why does the government forces not just kill all the people in the No Fire zone.

There are no human rights groups, there are no reporters. Why don't they just "exterminate them" as is constantly being accused?

The reason is that these people are human beings like you or I and they DO NOT WANT TO KILL Tamil people.

I know first hand the effort that has gone into saving lives of casualties of war, in Wanni civilians, who have received intensive surgery after transfer to Anuradhapura from the north - Why would they put all this human resouce and opertating theatre time ( a limited resource) in to saving the lives of people they were categorically trying to kill?

It is clear to me that this drive to lead the publlic at large, particularly people who live out of Sri Lanka , who don't have the luxury of knowing that Sinhala, Muslim, Tamil, Christian, Buddhist, English, Australian Burgher people all breath the same air, often eat the same food, drink the same water.

"Genocide" of the Tamil race only exists in the minds of the LTTE supporters because the concept of genocide is so abhorrent that it justifies equally abhorent means of protests such as the terrorist strategies of child recruitment and suicide bombing that the LTTE uses commonly.

Anyone who uses this term - please think carefully before you accuse the Sri Lankan nation (your nation) of being "genocidal". It is alright to use the term if you actually believe that the nation is deliberately trying to destroy the Tamil people. But anyone with any experience in Sri Lanka knows, this would be akin to cutting of one's own leg - Wellawatte (suburb of Colombo where my parents grew up) alone is approx 60% Tamil.

Again - do you really think that that Sinhala people want to Kill the Tamil people.

All I can say is that from first hand information about 150 don't - ie thats about all the Sinalaese people I know.

Or - do you think there are a group of extremists who occassionally say things like "lets carpet bomb the north" (as vile as this statement is) because they are "idiots" who are unrepresentative of the population at large?

I think it is the latter not the former -and even this group of loud mouths, if you really pinned them down - don't want to Kill Tamil people a root desire -they just feel threatned by the LTTE - and the same goes in reverse,

Anyway sorry to go on - but I think these are important concepts.

And similar to Arjunan - i feel like this is a discussion group so I make no apology for my contributions. People can always hit delete after all?

Finally, i think it is important for many people to write there views down. As it stands there are some serious claims being made here, and only about 4 people contributing.

I think a lot of positivity about the future and current harmony that exist should be brought to light.

Just my views
Cheers
bish


February 6 at 3:36am
Regarding the video that you posted Arjunan

"watch this from TRO Vanni (editing & graphics by moi):"

I am curious as to how this video was filmed. Who took the film? It looks quite professionally done? (ie there is a lot of commotion and disturbing images but the camera man is focused on his job in an emotionless way )

Are there people with Video cameras in the Wanni safe zones? I thought this area was under strict government control?

What was the hospital that we saw in operation - who were the doctors?

I imagine you will know much about this video footage (given you edited it), perhaps you could share more details with the group.

Anyone is free to make their mind up, but my impression is that this looks like LTTE propoganda, and if this is the case I am cautious of the validity of it's content and the message it is sending - ie the government is targeting civilians -again "why woud the government forces do this? The only reason would be if they had evidence of military proceedings which was clearly absent form the video - so i am confused, and believe there is some foul play of information here. Again no proof but my impression - based on the following:-

The Tamil Relief Organisation has strong links with the LTTE - i think anyone who is watching the video link that Arjunan sent should also at least read this article on the TRO published in the Asia Tribune in 17-1-05. I know that a lot of people donated money to the TRO post Tsunami thinking that this money was going to help civilians but it was never accountable for projects (something that any responsible NGO would have been able to do - ie track their funds) and it was likely that their well intentioned money went to the purchase of arms leading to the kind of destruction that was depicted in the video.

http://www.asiantribune.com/oldsite/show_news.php?id=13051

Excerpts from Asia Tribune article:-

"In fact, Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation was hastily formed by the LTTE in the early part of 1986 in the Indian state of Tamilnadu as Velupillai Prabaharan’s Tamil Tigers needed a registered organisation to receive a massive assistance of thirty million in Indian rupees from the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu the late M G Ramachandran.

Though TRO operatives try to camouflage the fact that it is in fact the relief and rehabilitation wing of LTTE, it has been identified as such in many countries besides Australia. According to media reports, a Special Canadian Senate Committee had identified TRO as a group raising money for guns and materials used by the Tamil Tigers.

TRO has undertaken many relief and rehabilitation projects in North East Sri Lanka and had been praised for its efficient and well-organised relief efforts in areas under LTTE control.

However, TRO has not openly declared how monies collected in Australia are sent to Sri Lanka despite allegations that funds collected from Australian Tamils end up for LTTE’s arms purchases. Monies from Australia could be sent legally to Sri Lanka only through the official Sri Lankan banking channel, that is, via the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune - "

One thing that goes with out saying that the video depicts, armed conflict is heinous - the sooner we all create peace the better. Peace starts in our minds and then spreads to the minds of others.

Peace out
Bishan


bishan,
i don't know where to start... but you're soooo misinformed about almost everything it would be a waste of my time to even engage with you at any level...

this statement shows me you know nothing about what is going on in the NorthEast:
"Are there people with Video cameras in the Wanni safe zones? I thought this area was under strict government control? "

FACTS:
1) the "safe zone" was unilaterally declared by the Govt on 22 jan 2009.
2) It is in the LTTE controlled area
3) the GoSL started shelling the area the next day and have shelled it everyday since resulting in over 800 killed and over 2000 injured
4) there are hundreds of video cameras and thousands of cameras in the vanni... and you know what? they also have TVs & radios...
5) if you don't believe what the tamils say is going on then why don't you tell your dad (mahinda) to let the UN/international NGOs and the MEDIA into the vanni...?

if you're this ignorant of these basic facts... well, it doesn't say much about your "expertise" on the rest of it...

i did have QUITE a good laugh reading some of it though...

watch these:
shelling of hospital (ICRC) confirmed this and was there:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No4_KG96KtI

an interview with a nurse:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT5CG_bZMdk

shelling in progress:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyfXwUlOCn0

more blown up people:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrXgxDKMO0k&feature=channel_page

you should see the videos that youtube won't let me put up...

anyway... i've had my fun... back to work... this was a nice break and it got the adrenaline flowing so i could finish a report & presentation...

hehehe
by the way, i don't want to give anyone the impressing i read all that nonsense the bishan wrote... just scanned it...
Suraj!
I completely see where you are coming from and I do respect the fact that you lived in Jaffna and eperienced violence first hand and I was a lot more sheltered growing up in Kandy. I only had to contend with the sporadic suicide bombings and with the news of violence. Unlike the Tamils in the front line and the Sinhala in the `border` villages I led a relatively sheltered life. Nevertheless my home is stil Sri Lanka. Although I studied abroad and now work for the UN in Africa my home is Sri Lanka.

I am now on mission in a very rural part of Angola and cannot respond with justice to your well written message but i will do so next week.
February 6 at 6:33pm
Very well, so here’s my two cents worth as well then.

We can argue til kingdom comes about who started it, who suffered most, is it genocide, is it not.. and send links to support our positions but at the end of the day it’s not going to make the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) stop the war or LTTE lay down their arms.

So question is, what is the way forward?

The immediate priority is to try and get the trapped civilians to safety; and for those who don’t want to leave (as pointed out by Arjunan), a safe zone that’s truly safe (as written by Chaminda). Both have their own advantages and disadvantages but I can’t see any other way as both GoSL and LTTE are both so deeply entrenched in their position.

But in the interim period, I see an opportunity. With GoSL no longer able to blame LTTE for everything, they must offer a just political solution to solve the causes that has started this conflict.

From what I understand, before the concept of Tamil Eelam (a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka) was envisaged by TULF (Tamils United Liberation Front – a democratically elected political party that had the overwhelming support of Tamils) in 1976, they had been lobbing the government by non-violence means for years with the following 6 issues:

1. Equal Status for the Tamil Language in the Constitution as Sinhala
2. Constitutional guarantees of full Citizenship to all Tamil speaking people who have made this country their home
3. State to be secular with equal Protection for all religions,
4. Provisions for the abolition of caste and untouchability,
5. provide valid Fundamental rights guaranteeing equality of persons and above all
6. a de centralized structure of Government in a democratic and Socialist Society.

The lobbying was ignored which lead to the Tamils wanting to secede from Sri Lanka. As things stand it is the 6th point that is yet to be adequately addressed. The rest of the points are corrected in paper with partial implementation.

The point is, the ball will soon be in the GoSL’s court, and how “magnanimous” they chose to be will decide if there’s going to be another 30 years of war or not, for I think with or without the LTTE there will be no peace without a just political solution.

Bish, has the GoSL given any details of post-war settlement? I don’t see any..

In the past 6 years or so, I’ve worked in Jaffna, Killinochchi, Trincomalee, Mullativu, Colombo, Galle, Matara and Hambantota. My personal experience is Tamils and Singhalese in Sri Lanka do not hate each other.

And I know there will be peace one day. Not cease fire but real peace. Just imagine it.

Can I ask you all to be please post responsibly and respectfully, some of the people on the list are only 13! The initial mail I sent out was for people join a FB group called “Troop of Tigons” which promotes constructive dialogue between Sri Lankan expatriates.


I apologies to people who did not want to be involved in this, and I encourage others to offer their perspectives/experience.

Dushy


i love you
February 7 at 9:01pm
I live in the UK and do not have any first hand experience of the situation in Sri Lanka, so rely on the media to provide information on which to form an opinion. The LTTE and the GoSL are both presenting their version of the truth, and independent media is reporting one story - that neither side wants there to be independent reporting.

The immediate issue that comes through from all sides is that there are a lot of civilians caught in the middle of a war, and these civilians are more concerned with the safety of themselves and the people around them rather than the political future of the island.

As we have seen in the media, one organisation which is there right now making a very real difference to the civilians is the Red Cross.The have also made it easy and quick to support the work they are doing either internationally or in Sri Lanka in particular. If you'd like to find our more or make a donation to support the work they are doing to protect innocent lives visit their website: http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/helpicrc

Your employer may have a donation-matching scheme so its worth finding out about this also.
for fucks sake ppl, with all due respect can you have your conversation without spamming me please.
you can just click delete without opening it... i don't think it's that much time outta your day janaka...

February 24 at 1:36am
February 24 at 1:38am
Dining with terrorists - Divided Island - 21 Feb 09 - Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLDeDEFtzAU

Dining with terrorists - Divided Island - 21 Feb 09 - Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQhvQ8ypBy0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuOkoDcIKdg
interview with a man in the vanni...
February 24 at 3:08am
Thanks for the link the Aljazeera documentary - it provides an interesting perspective and I thought was somewhat balanced. I added my comments to the You Tube site.

Arjunan as I mentioned before with a previous link - the TRO has been strongly linked to the LTTE so do you not think this is like watching a lanka defence video?

The following video is a "sky news" article which shows that government was trying to stage a viewpoint for journalists - which this news group was well aware of. Despite this they present a view that Tamils from the North either want the LTTE to leave or talk peace "from the heart".

Worth watching


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxxux0Qanu0&feature=related

As Bharath has pointed it out - the urgency right now is with the civilians caught in the middle.

hahaha, these are EPDP quislings in Jaffna...
they represent no one...!!!

in 2004, 22 of the 23 Tamil electorates in the NE were won by the TNA... only Douglas and the EPDP fixed the election in Kyts (these are the people in the video - who would probably be disappeared if they didn't say these things - just like all those poor buggers in the Chemmani mass graves)

when there was relative peace during 2004 the TNA, running on a platform of the LTTE BEING THE SOLE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE TAMIL PEOPLE.... WON 22 of 23 seats...

but y'all don't want to accept that

you sound like GW Bush and the US saying: "well Chavez (in Venezuela) and Hamas (in Gaza) won their democratic elections but we don't like them so we don't accept democracy if the people WE like aren't elected..."

jokers...

the TAMIL PEOPLE spoke when they voted in secret balloting (unlike the intimidation they are under when speaking in front of cameras) in 1977 and voted OVERWHELMINGLY for SEPARATION and then in 2004 the TAMIL PEOPLE spoke again and voted OVERWHELMINGLY (22 of 23 parliamentary seats in the NorthEast) for the LTTE to be their representatives...

but the GOSL, INDIA, US, and Pakistan don't like that... so this genocidal war... and then they will attempt to put the quisling puppets in power like they've done in the East...

it won't work... the struggle will continue...
guaranteed...!
Fail proof LTTE strategy to win elections to become the “sole representative™” of all Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

1. kill all alternative/moderate Tamil voices
2. kill all Tamil politicians not completely in agreement with Prabhakaran
3. develop a personality cult of the “sun god” through classic cult brainwashing practices
4. Ban all alternative sources of discourse,
5. ban any independent media in LTTE controlled areas
6. create de-facto state where Prabhakaran is the supreme and undisputed leader
7. Kill any dissent within the LTTE
8. cultivate deep hatred for all other ethnic groups
9. ethnically cleanse LTTE areas further preventing alternative voices
10. intercept all central (Colombo) government revenue and disperse as LTTE expenditure
11. claim sole representative status

Prominent Tamil Leaders Assassinated by the LTTE Tamil Tiger Terrorists in Sri Lanka

A T Duraiyappah SLFP Mayor for Jaffna
A Thiagarajah Ex ACTC MP for Vadokoddai who later joined the UNP
K T Pulendran UNP Organiser for Vavunia
A J Rajasooriar UNP Organiser in Jaffna
Mala Ramachandran UNP MMC for Baticaloa
Gnanachandiram Ex District Judge, Point Pedro and Government Agent, Mullativu
C E anandarajah Principal, St Jones College, Jaffna
B K Thambipillai President, Citizens Cimmittee
V Dharmalingam Ex TULF MP for Manipay and Father of D Siddharthan, Leader of PLOTE
Alakasunderam Ex TULF MP for Kopay
P Kirubakaran Primary Court Judge
Kathiramalai Sarvodaya Leader
Vignarajah Assistant Government Agent, Samanturai
Anthonimuttu Government Agent, Baticaloa
S S Jeganathan Assistant Government Agent, Baticaloa
Sinnadurai Assistant Government Agent, Trincomalee
M E Kandasamy Principal, Palugamam Maha Vidyalaya
S Siththamparanathan Principal, Vigneswara Vidyalaya, Trincomalee
S Wijayanadan Distric Secretary, Ceylon Communist Party
Velmurugu Master TULF Organiser and Citizens Committee Member, Kalmunai
Rev. Father Chandra Fernando President, Citizens Committee, Batticaloa
Rajjshankar President, Citizens Committee, Tennamarachchi
S Sambandamoorthy Ex TULF Chairman, District Development Council, Batticaloa
V M Panchalingam Government Agent, Jaffna
K Pulendran Assistant Government Agent, Kopay
A Amirthalingam TULF Leader and National List MP (see details)
V Yogeshwaran Ex TULF MP for Jaffna
Dr (Mrs) Rajini Thiranagama Lecturer in Anatomy at the Jaffna University and co-author of the "Broken Palmyrah" (21 Sptember 1989)
Ganeshalingam Ex EPRLF Provincial Minister for North and East
Sam Thambimuttu EPRLF MP
Mrs Thambimuttu Wife of EPRLF MP
V Yogasangari EPRLF MP in Madras
A Thangadurai TULF MP for Trincomalee
Mrs Sarojini Yogeshwaran TULF Mayoress for Jaffna
Pon Sivapalan TULF Mayor of Jaffna
Canagasabai Rajathurai EPDF Member for Jaffna
Veerahaththy Gunaratnam PLOTE member of the Pachchilaipalli Pradheshiya Sabha (PS) in Jaffna (5 May 1999)
Razick, Supremo of the EPRLF’s armed wing (30 May 1999)
Dr Neelan Thiruchelvam Leader of TULF (29 July 1999)
N. Manickathasan Vice President of PLOTE (Tamil Political party working with the Sri Lankan Government)
Kumar Ponnambalam President of All Ceylon Tamil Congress (5 Jan 2000) Refer to SPUR Media Release
Vadivelu Vijeyaratnam Point Pedro Urban Council Chairman (14 Jan 2000)
Anton Sivalingam EPDP's Municipal Council members in Jaffna (1 March 2000)
Kanapathipillai Navaratnarajah TELO member of Arayampathi, Batticaloa - on 7 June 2000
Rajan Sathiyamoorthy Tamil National Alliance parliamentary candidate Rajan Sathiyamoorthy was killed by LTTE Tamil Tiger Terrorists on 30 March 2004.
Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar (Foreign Minister in Sri Lanka) 12 August 2005 - Read full details in Special Web Edition
Kethishwaran Loganathan (54) Deputy Secretary General of Sri Lanka Peace Secratariat, SCOOP (12 August 2006)
T Maheshwaran Former Minister shot dead on 01 January 2008 (New Years day)
Minister D M Dissanayake LTTE Tamil Tigers Assassinate Minister D M Dissanayake; 12 people Injured; Another Person killed (03 January 2008)
K Sivanesan Jaffna TNA MP K. Sivanesan killed in an accidental explosion of a LTTE Tamil Tiger Claymore mine in the LTTE held area (05 March 2008).
Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle LTTE Tamil Tiger Terrorist's Suicide Bomb Attack killing Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and 12 civilians (06 April 2008)
Rev. Father M. X. Karunaratnam, Chairman of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR), a Catholic priest attached to the Jaffna diocese (20 April 2008)
Ms. Maheswary Velautham Attorney –at-law and advisor to the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda shot dead by the LTTE Tamil Taiger terrorists on 13 May 2008 (Details in EPDP).

ah, the boy genius knows how to cut and paste... where did you get that from defence.lk

douche bag
Sorry, forgot the question mark after defence.lk

"ah, the boy genius knows how to cut and paste... where did you get that from defence.lk?"

that's better

by the way "douche bag" is a term of endearment in California...

and chaminda i thought you said: "Yo!! I am out of this one...... "

what are you some kinda hip-hop or r&b gansta rappa...?

aiyo
February 24 at 4:32am
Arjunan - You make a fair point about the 22 seats and the platform that the TNA was entering elections under in 2004.

However, you have got to wonder wonder how much choice electorate had vote when so many Tamil Leaders who would be in opposition to the LTTE have been killed (see Chaminda's list - the fact that it is cut and past shouldn't detract from the message dude!?.

Also the LTTE had a lot of control over the voting process even during the Peace times such as in the Nov 2005 presidential elections - as this report from the world Socialist Website states

"There is no doubt that the LTTE used thuggery and intimidation to enforce its boycott. In the week before the election, its front organisations openly threatened voters. The Makkal Paddai (People’s Army) pasted up posters declaring that those who voted would face “a fitting answer”. Two days before the poll, the pro-LTTE Tamil Eelam Student Committee issued a statement insisting that people stay indoors on election day."

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/nov2005/sril-n26.shtml
February 24 at 4:39am
So here's a question I'd like to get your opinion on Arjunan- If the LTTE really wanted peace and a political solution why did they then oppose them voting for Ranil who was offering more peace?
Arjunan, No actually I got it from www.spur.asn.au


Not defence.lk (which i consider to be as credible as tamilnet.com)
haha, SPUR? SPUR? hahaha, that's actually worse than Tamilnet or the LTTE PS... and their editing is atrocious...
well, bishan... from what i heard it was ranil, melinda and that other cat (can't remember his name) who in the week or two before the election (which they had in the bag) started mouthing off... "we created the split in the LTTE" "we put the LTTE in the international net" etc... you remember...? that sealed their fate i'd assume, and that's just from analyzing it from the "outside" - no special knowledge...

and also, the absence (aren't the SL Army in control of Jaffna? how did the LTTE prevent people from voting? weird) of the tamil vote showed what the sinhala people wanted, no?

it appears to be a close election with mahinda wining by a few percentage points... but if you take out the welewatte tamils, the muslims and the upcountry tamils the actual percentage of SINHALESE who voted for mahinda is approximately 75% - 75% of the majority (who are 75%) voting for the hardline, nationalism, in the end voting for WAR...
please ppl go away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hahaha... you don't know how to delete without opening... luddite...
i dont want to be deleting at all. I use this thing such that i dont receive shitty msg that i have to delete every 3 min. so for th elast time can u start up a new thread with who ever is interested in you amazing debate and leave me out of it!!!!

Arjunan Ethirveerasingam

February 24 at 5:37am
blah, blah, blah... call the CID or a white van... i ain't gonna stop anytime soon...

peas...
Arjunan

Please try to act like a grown-up. I don’t know how old you are but you certainly act like an insolent child.

If you have a point or a counterpoint to make then do so. Only people who can not make a logical argument resort to name calling (douche bag etc) or to baseless defaming or pointless banter (i.e. haa haa etc). It only distracts from what you are trying to say. I am sure you have some very valid points to make but unfortunately your conversation style does not adequately convey your intelligence.

Please don’t take this the wrong way or resort to this with more inane repartee but try to engage with people at a more respectful level and we might all get somewhere.
Chaminda,
i am an insolent child
i can't make logical arguments
i have nothing to say
i have no valid points to make
i'm not trying to get anywhere...
cheers,
this is all for a laugh... i don't really expect to change anyone's minds... in the end none of it matters... does it?

people will be blown to bits or put in concentration camps for 3 years and tortured and raped and disappeared or found in a lake or shot while at midnight mass and y'all will be just fine with it as long as "terrorism" is defeated...

good luck to you...
No we will not all be “just fine with it as long as "terrorism" is defeated...”

My hope is that the defeat of separatist terrorism will awaken more of our Tamil brethren from their LTTE induced brain slumber. Likewise when the euphoric propaganda process slowly squeaks to a stop the Sinhala too will look around wonder where the promised terrorist free utopia went to!

Then starts the hard and interesting part! This is when we can start the fight to replace conservatives with democrats, generals with economists and soldiers with teachers and farmers.

We could never get there with the LTTE setting off bombs in busses!! With the demise of the LTTE we have a fighting chance!!

When I say WE I refer to those of us who have the means to influence. This is exactly why I think this group is trying to do.

hahaha,
from angola?
and you won't get there as long as:
- jaffna is an open prison (govt's been in charge for 14 years and still no electricity 24 hours a day)
- paramilitaries are running around the east with weapons
- the east is being colonized by ex-soldiers and other sinhalese with GOSL support (state aided colonization)
- the Tamils are being bombed and shelled in the North
- Tamils are being kept in concentration camps in the North (for up to 3 or more years) against their will,
- and people are being disappeared and extrajudicailly killed...

what kind of "influence" do you have by the way...?
you part of THE rajapakse clan...?

March 3 at 12:36am
There's a lot of 100% negativity here Arjunan - how about also engaging a "dialogue" focused on generating some solutions? I agree there are major problems here .

I admire your conviction for positive change (which i believe underlies your outward facade).

Chaminda I like you contributions - thanks

You are right - communication style is important - i think everyone who is contributing on any kind of forum like this should have a read of this

http://www.wikihow.com/Practice-Nonviolent-Communication

Arjunana - the thing is, by focusing on the things that are going wrong between opposing sides of a conflict we will only get so far. The much harder thing to do is work with the good things that opposing sides are doing - even in times of strife and darkness - so how about some dialogue that incorporates more positivity and potential solutions?

And by the way - when I say "dialogue" - I'm talking about having an interplay of ideas. This generally means considering ones a viewpoint that is different to your own - are you brave enough for this? I hope so (and actually believe so)

Janaka - i am really sorry to be spamming you dude - i put my facebook on an autofilter so the messages don't clog up my inbox, but if you haven't done something like this it must be a pain. Sorry.

Unfortunately this facebook doesn't seem have the ability to know people out of the thread - so Dushy do you mind sending out the email again if you think this dialogue is worth having (perhaps amongst the people who want to have it)

Cheers
Bishan
by the way chaminda, i just noticed this... "let me mention a TWO NAMES!! Neelan Tiruchelvam, Lakshman Kadiragama!! Two people who could easily have been elected to be prime minister if not president one day!!! They would have certainly had my vote!!"

both neelan & lakshman were NATIONAL LIST MPs which means that there were not elected and did not represent any constituency... why? because NO Tamil in the Tamil Eelam would have ever voted for them...

YOU may want to choose our leaders... but that ain't how it works...

i may have brought this up before but y'all sound a lot like the US Govt under GW Bush... "we love democracy... but only if OUR guy or gal wins... Hamas may have been elected but we ain't gonna talk to 'em...same thing with that guy Chavez... he may be elected and loved by his people... but we ain't gonna deal with him..."


1977 the Tamil people voted for the TULF who ran on the platform of the 1976 Vaddukkodai Resolution (http://www.ltteps.org/?view=425&folder=10)

know what happened? they won with HUGE margins...

and then in 2004 the TNA ran on a platform of the LTTE being the sole reps and that the GOSL should work it out with them...

know what happened? they won 22 out of 23 seats...

still not good enough for you? you want us to follow the person YOU choose...

Bish, it is not us you need to dialogue with... it is yourself... the sinhala south must figure out what they want to offer the tamils...

how many all party conferences have their been? 5? 6? and this one hasn't even release anything after 3 years of debate... it must be an amazing one though if they've taken this long...

the next "talks" between the tamils and the sinhalese will be to negotiate the borders... "we'll give you a bit of amparai for a bit of puttalam..." hehehe... kidding... well, maybe not...

peace out...
March 3 at 2:30pm
Dear all, ok so I've created a forum for all of you who still want to be involved in this discussion.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/edit.php?gid=70616591824

Arj, I have some questions on the last comment you made which I've left in the forum.
D
thanks but i have no interest in being in a group with the title "Lanka Dialogue"

cheers...
Please watch these videos i received from the Vanni and uploaded to youtube

Part ONE & TWO of an Interview with Doctor Varatharajah at the Mattallan Temporary Hospital in the "Safe Zone":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFlU4cIis6Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfBkmnOjqO0

This hospital has been shelled twice since this interview
March 6 at 1:43am
Arjunan wrote :- thanks but i have no interest in being in a group with the title "Lanka Dialogue"

That's a shame man - what would you like to call the Dialogue site group then - we can run a parallel. The name really doesn't matter too much to me - but the concepts behind it has to be open and constructive "dialog" about the Sri Lanka situation such as you report in the video links

I had a look. This video depicts the wrath of war and IDP - the sooner we find a solution for this the better. The soon we have meaningful dialogue the faster ideas will come. The faster ideas will come the sooner the action that will benefit our society.

We are all responsible for our choices - if you really cared about those people in the video as you make out to I think you will join us in dialog.

take care
Bishan

March 6 at 1:45am
For those who want to help i got this email yesterday :-

Items No. needed

Ladies Clothing
Kaftan 500
House coats (front open) 500
Undergarments (bras, panties & underskirts – medium sizes) 500

Men’s Clothing
Sarong 500
Shirts / T-shirts 500
Undergarments (medium & large) 500

Children’s Clothing (3-16 years) - URGENT
Dresses / skirt & blouse for girls 500
Shorts & shirts / t-shirts for boys 500

Baby’s Clothing
Baby dresses (small t-shirts, shorts, dresses) 500
Baby napkins 500

Slippers (sizes 6-9) 500

Food Items
Infant milk food (Lactogen 1+ & 2+) 100 packets
Infant food (cerelac) 50 packets
Samaposha 100 packets
Baby milk powder (for 1-3 year olds) 100 packets
Milk powder 200 packets
Adult Liquid food (soup, jelly, energy drinks) 100 each

Other Items
Washing powder (sachets – No large packs) 200
Shampoo sachets (No bottles) 500
Pillows & Pillow cases 500

Please hand over all your contributions to the FOCUS office by Friday, 6th March, the latest.

Also needed

1. ASSISTANCE TO PROVIDE CLOTHES TO DISPLACED PERSONS IN VAVUNIYA - URGENT
2. VOLUNTEER TEAMS
3. LONG TERM ASSISTANCE TO SELECTED FAMILIES

For further details please contact Radhika on 0775 223067, Sumathy on 0714 893536 or the FOCUS office on 011 4943579.

March 6 at 3:09am
Special Request - guys. I would really like to post the contents of this thread on my peace blog (ie cut and paste) and I would like to your permission for me to do so. I think everyone has posted things that they strongly believe in, and there are no contact details so I don't imagine you will have objections, but please let me know ASAP if you do as I can do a find and replace (ie replace your names with xxx or yyy or something like that).

My blog is pretty harmless - and to the best of my knowledge nobody has read since i started it over a year ago - certainly nobody has left any comments.

http://peaceandunity-bishan.blogspot.com/

however I am getting a lot of emails from friends overseas about the current situation in Sri Lanka my thoughts etc - and I think this "dialogue" is pretty useful to share with others in terms of thoughts (and internet links) from a certain group of Sinhalese and Tamil individuals.

I guess I'm really only asking Dushy, Arjunan, Janaka, Chaminda and Ram

Cheers
Bishan :)

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