Millions of Tamils around the world thank the German-based Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDSL) for exposing the truth. The Sri Lankan armed forces, in the guise of fighting terrorism, slaughtered Tamil captives in Vanni earlier this year. The Tamils thank Channel 4 for breaking the story along with the video depicting the extra-judicial execution.
While the Tamils were being butchered by the Sri Lankan State, global Tamils protested peacefully. Despite that, the UN and many other powerful countries failed to support the victims of State terrorism other than issuing statements condemning the Sri Lankan State and the LTTE. And finally, the world demanded the Tamils’ defensive cadres, the LTTE, to silence their guns. But they failed to demand the Sri Lankan armed forces to follow suit. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan State punished civilians by keeping them in the Nazi-style camps tightly guarded by the armed forces in the militarized barbed-wire camps in Vavuniya without providing any basic facilities.
Australia was one of the countries that cried foul when thousands of Tamils were butchered by the Sri Lankan Sate. Despite all the hardships the Tamils endured–poor health, sanitation, lack of food and water, not to mention the further hardship the Tamils will face in the coming monsoon season–Australia extended their warmest greetings to Sri Lanka and consolidated their trade between the two countries. Thanks to Australia and others who continue to extend friendly relations with the terrorist States who have killed tens of thousands with abysmal records of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka’s intention to treat Tamils as human beings has vanished forever and for them, Tamils are history. Sri Lanka still fails to recognise the aspirations of the Tamil people as a nation.
Tamils’ claims validated
Although many countries did not hear the pleas of the global Tamils, the video shown on Channel 4, and thereafter the images circulating on the internet, reveal the mutilated, naked bodies of Tamil captives, both men and women. Many bodies in the pictures lacked torsos, limbs, and hands. While one image showed just the skeletal remains of the upper part of a body, another showed badly eaten away portions of the head of a slain man.
The video is more than written evidence to prove and to bring the Sri Lankan State to justice for unleashing the ethnic cleansing, especially targeted upon the Tamils. The Sinhala soldiers who speak in the Sinhala language did everything possible as vultures in the background of the dead waiting to prey on the dead bodies. These images are nauseating, reflecting the extreme chauvinistic and morbid tendencies of the Sinhala chauvinism perpetuated on the Tamils.
The UN wants the Sri Lankan government to set up an independent probe into the authenticity of a video clip aired on the BBC Channel, allegedly showing Sri Lankan troops executing prisoners. If the Sri Lankan government’s denial is validated as a result of an inquiry, the international community can rest easy and the government will have been vindicated according to them. They will use any excuse to absolve the Sri Lankan government of their crimes against humanity and enhance their impunity. Confident of the Sri Lankan government again cheating on this investigation which he describing the images as “horrendous,” the official said that it indicated a serious violation of international law if found to be authentic. The influence of the triple gem bestowed on Ban ki Moon and other UN officials visiting Sri Lanka prevails. The UN is as corrupt as the Sri Lankan government. They can do business together. It is indeed a disgrace that the UN has descended to this base level.
Now, the UN and the world community who speak of crimes against humanity in the civilized world have the right to speak out and bring the perpetrators of such crimes to book. Although Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC), ICC can book Sri Lanka as they did to other countries, especially of East European and African countries in the past. There are a few options, such as judges of the court. Also, several member states of the ICC can also formally file the case against Sri Lanka, and many other viable options are available to book Sri Lanka. But, the question is whether the UN and the ICC will do it.
Norway has already sounded out that they will support the move to charge Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka has unleashed violence on Tamils. Based on the video footage by the British broadcasting Channel 4 that depicted the cruel killings of Tamils, international peacemaker and Norwegian External Affairs Minister Erik Solheim has suggested that the global community investigate the war crimes committed by Sri Lanka.
Earlier, Erik Solheim led the peace keeping time on behalf of UN to settle the dispute between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government which resulted in futility. Further, he said he would urge for the UN and the International Community to commence an investigation. He said: “The Channel 4 video is more than solid evidence to accuse the government and those who committed the crime is punishable under law. Thousands of Tamils went missing during the bloody war and no one has questioned the government regarding this violation of Human Rights. The ruling government has wilfully ignored human rights and laid rules of their own. Without evidences, the UN was unable to proceed, but now we have the necessary docs to bring them under custody. Moreover, they have committed the punishable crime of kidnapping international journalists with their white van and I will urge the envoy to put an end to this atrocity.”
Sri Lanka condemns Norway and Britain
Upon bringing to light the video, the Sri Lankan President’s Media Unit released a statement saying the government “will make a strong protest to Channel 4 with regard to the contents of this video and also bring the matter to the notice of the relevant authorities…” It described the footage as “false and doctored.” It promised to “pursue remedies available with regard to the distortion of truth.”
Further, Sri Lankan leaders issued statements condemning Britain for permitting the Channel 4 broadcast without investigations. Little do they realise that in Britain, the mother of Parliamentary democracy, freedom of expression, even by the media, is sacred. Channel 4 representative Mr. Jonathan Miller commented on the Sri Lanka Government denial, saying: “I think Steven Spielberg would have had a hard job staging this grim scene. We were unable to verify the authenticity of the footage, but we did our level best to do so and we would not have broadcast our report had we not been confident with the expert analysis we received. Before we went to air, I watched the video with a leading Sri Lankan human rights investigator – a Sinhalese himself – who provided forensic insights into its authenticity. This investigator has many years of experience looking into abuses and impunity in his homeland, but he’d never seen anything like this.”
A column under the heading ‘Heil Solheim’ written by Gomin Dayasri on August 31 appearing in the Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence website, badly condemned the Norwegian Minister, Erik Solheim, and Channel 4. It further says that such periodic releases through friendly media sources are a part of LTTE false propaganda to discredit the Sri Lankan Forces, which have been duly exposed previously. There is not an iota of substance to relate it to Sri Lankan forces except for representations made in the voice cast of the narrator from the studio.
The writer claims, “For the record, previously too, Channel Four journalists were deported from the country for disseminating falsified pictorials, which they did not challenge. Channel Four has a history of desiring to discredit Sri Lanka and has fallen foul of the authorities and harbours a grievance; which does not make it a reliable objective media presenter.”
The statements from Sri Lankan leaders and the articles by well known Sinhala chauvinists appearing in the government websites clearly show that Sri Lanka will not respond cordially with the countries coming against the violations committed by the Sri Lankan State. Even powerful regional associations such as the European Union and NATO have done nothing to disapprove of Sri Lankan atrocities.
It is an irony that the descendant members of one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, such as the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in Asia, cannot stand up, speak and join with the civilized world in condemning such barbarities. It is also because those who claim to be champions of such a civilization have disgracefully and unashamedly traded and capitulated its reputation for positions, wealth and power. Take the case of Karunanidhi asking the Indian Central government to verify the authenticity of the Channel 4 exposition as if it would ever happen.
And the global community remains a mute spectator; the Tamil people, who make up nearly 80 million world-wide, have not yet lost faith in the global governments completely.
As a civilized nation, Tamils gratefully extend their sincere thanks to BBC Channel 4 and JDSL for having the courage and the unrelenting efforts in revealing the truth which we believe they will continue to do. It is very important that, in the interests of justice against crimes against humanity, the veracity of the tapes in question be independently investigated once again and the world be told of their authenticity.
The Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa, who was to attend the UN sessions in New York with the usual entourage of 150 persons to prop him up, we are informed, has now chosen to attend the 40th anniversary of the founding of an international terrorist State of Libya under Gaddhafi. He will, we are sure, be more at home there, than in the company of some UN representatives. Ban ki Moon will undoubtedly miss him.