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‘Inhumane’ disaster left to hit the ‘silent’ world, unless…

A reportage from Sri Lanka (1)

by Carla Lee, Colombo (Sri Lanka), 08 April 2009
Poster for upcoming  provincial election in Colombo and western province in Sri Lanka.
photo: Carla Lee

‘Vote for patriotism...’

The posters of upcoming provincial election read in a street of Colombo. National flags, which actually represents ‘Sinhala (majority ethnic) only’ by ethnical symbol of ‘lion’, are being waved on top of the three wheelers - the popular vehicle in South Asia -, among which are running through the jammed street, pasting a military picture on their back. Check point with various uniformed are just so many.

Due to a number of check points and high security measures, no idea how to promenade along the romantic seashore to stretch out to the city’s central Fort area, where the Tamil Tigers’ (or LTTE) suicide missions have taken place occasionally. The media, except few, are busy to carry out the triumphant story of armed forces, who are now undisputable heroes in Colombo and majority populated-south.

There are other heroes, the “Brothers”. The president Mahinda Rajapaksa is posing along with armed forces, sometimes with his brother Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Commander of Army Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka, for a huge picture, which is hung in places. The heroes, “The Brothers and Them”, have been about to claim their full victory of War on Terror “within days” since months ago, whereas the original master minders of War on Terror, who once declared outright victory though, got bogged down in troubled Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Vestiges of the latest cease fire and onward peace talks for several years have been completely torn apart. Journalists can be accused for their past visit to Kilinochchi, the rebel’s former capital, during the peace process, where a number of foreign diplomats had also visited to explore relationship with the Tamil Tigers (or LTTE) during the same period. Ranil Wickremasinghe, the former Prime Minister who signed the cease fire agreement with the LTTE in 2002, has been deserted by many. Among them is Prof. G.L.Peiris, the former chief negotiator under Ranil’s government, who told me 4 years ago:

“It’s all past, we need to talk with them (the LTTE)”. My question was then “Do you think the LTTE is a terrorist organisation?”

It was not ‘all past’ but became a ‘future’ in fact. On May 29th 2006, during the fragile peace process, the LTTE was newly branded as a terrorist organisation by European Union, which is comprised of 27 countries. Thus, the LTTE has been listed as a terrorist organization in America, Canada, India and now 27 countries more in a sudden. No reason left for the hard line regime in Colombo, which was narrowly elected thanks to the boycott of its hard line counterpart LTTE, to make peace with the world branded terrorist organisation, but every reason to go ahead its war on terror. It was around this time the growing violence at rampage has turned to the level of war.

As the ‘War on Terror’ has been proceeding ever since from the eastern province to the north Manar and Vanni, the Sri Lankan authority has successfully ‘displaced’ possible witnesses, notably journalists and aid workers, from the war zone. It has finally ordered all aid agencies except International Committee of Red Cross (or ICRC) and the UN to get out of Vanni in the mid of September 2008. The unprecedented ‘war without media and humanitarian aid’ was going to happen.

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