Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

Channel 4 screened this last night. At 23:05. Way past the watershed because the scenes were too distressing and some quite gruesome. For those outside of the UK – it can be watched on 4OD here.

My FB , texts, emails and Twitter were bombarded with reminders and pleas urging friends and families to watch it. To spread the word and help raise the profile of it. I did the same.

Tamils in the Diaspora are labelled as “terrorist sympathisers” because they want to see people brought to justice for the death of innocent Tamil civilians.

The short documentary shows footage from civilian recordings and from military personnel (trophy videos I call them!). I cannot even begin to explain how I felt seeing this stuff.

Let’s face it – the end of the civil war in SL was a bloody one. I mean wars usually are. And the defeat of the LTTE signifies hope and peace for the beautiful island but it was at a big cost to the civilians that were caught in the no fire safety zone.

The no fire safety zone – created by the GOSL and its military powers so that civilians leaving the north would be able to be safe. Encouraged to stay there for their own safety only to be bombarded by shelling and artillery fire. By both sides. I don’t doubt that the LTTE didn’t have some part to play in the deaths of civilians by using them not only as human shields but their own shelling in retaliation to the attack by the military forces in the “no fire safety zone” (they might even have instigated it – but without independent reporting, we’ll never know).

The report calls for an independent war crime investigation. The UN published a report in April 2011 that as many as 40000 people died in the final weeks of the civil war and the report states that Ban Ki-Moon refuses to call for an independent inquiry.
The UN is a complete and utter joke. How can it be taken seriously when it talks of war crimes in Libya but Ban-Ki Moon ignores them elsewhere? Are civilian casualties not important when they are in the third world?! Or when there is a lack of oil profits available? How disheartening is it that a human life is worth so much less than the commodity that is oil?!

Look at the similarities between Ratko Mladic, Bosnian Serb army chief and what happened in Srebrenica and what has happened in SL. Will the world need to wait an excess amount of years before someone is to answer for the deaths?

It will be said that this is LTTE propaganda and in all fairness the documentary does not present a balanced view (in my humble opinion). Both sides are to blame and both should face the consequences. But the GoSL should hand over the captured LTTE members (if in fact they are still alive) so that they can also face charges against them for war crimes.

You judge a person by the company they keep. SL allies itself with China, Russia, Iran and Israel – all countries with questionable human rights and still the UN stands by and does nothing. The worst thing is – SL gets it weapons from these countries but these countries get it from the USA/UK. It’s a joke!

I don’t live in SL. I never have. I will never know what it’s like to experience being a Tamil in SL first hand. Nor will I never know what it is like questioning whether I would have able to board a bus safely in the Colombo without fearing for my life. So my writings here are a reflection of what I have seen, heard and do know.

What I do know is that it is not our place to take peoples’ lives.

It’s not a question of LTTE vs. GoSL. It’s not a question of Tamils vs. Sinhalese. It’s a question of how were tens of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians were allowed to die and nobody did anything to stop it. And now nobody is doing anything to question it.

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6 thoughts on “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields

  1. "It’s not a question of LTTE vs. GoSL. It’s not a question of Tamils vs. Sinhalese. It’s a question of how were tens of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians were allowed to die and nobody did anything to stop it. And now nobody is doing anything to question it. "what about the innocent sinhalese civilians died for the sake of one stupid man's dream. Where were you those days. LTTE killed tamils more than sinhalese. Now they are living without fear.Wounds are healing slowly. Do not put more fuel to fire. Its over. Sri Lanka is for all . Tamils/Muslims and sinhalese. Its over. I repeat .. Its over.

  2. It is true many people died within a period of the final month of the battle. They were the sad consequences of collateral damage and in some cases perhaps intentional shelling, I don't know. The safe havens should never have been labeled no fire zones because all the LTTE fire power were moved there so that they could fire from there towards the Army, believing they would not fire back as it was a no fire zone.I believe it was a tactic to call it no fire zone so that the LTTE would in fact move there. It would in the end game enable the govt. to trap them there as compared with anywhere else where they would have dispersed.Having said all that there were horrific atrocities over a period of 40 years in Sri Lanka beginning with the 1971 insurrection and these were committed both by the Forces as well as the terrorists. In this case the terrorist were Sinhala and Tamil. So this is just the history of terrorism in Sri Lanka and not confined to any race. The moment you take the race out of the picture you get a better view of how these campaigns were eventually suppressed.Any future campaign of terrorism be it by Sinhala or Tamil will again be met the same way, and this would be done by this or any future government, as that is the way the public want terrorism contained. No amount of overseas pressure and putting anyone one on trial in war crimes or any crimes will change that mentality. While I abhore all that and not being an apologist for crime, it is a stark reality in Sri Lanka.Even in Sri Lanka today, a person caught for allegedly stealing anything from another, especially if handed over to the police by more than one person who say they were witnesses to the crime, are beaten up mercilessly by the Police to obtain a confession despite the strong written requirements for them from higher above not to abuse a person's Human Rights. That sadly is the way it is and I don't know if that can be stopped until people in SL stop lying!

  3. This "it's over" nonsense is apparently a common excuse people are giving for not having to care about the way those people were executed by army personnel.I find that more disturbing than the images in the documentary. What a load of rubbish. There is no justification, no allowance for this kind of action by the very people who are sworn to defend us. These same people who now patrol the streets of Colombo to maintain 'peace'.Well written Scrumps, I agree with most of your points. Yes, the UN is a joke, but my fear is that our people, regardless of race, are too apathetic to rise up and call for justice and accountability in this country. We are much too used to being shut up. If we don't stand up for the brutal murder of our own countrymen, terrorists or not, then who else will stand up for them??

  4. I agree that the report could have been more balanced.The LTTE and the current GoSL had much in common, in fact two sides of the same coin.They worked together in 2005 to deny the UNP a victory in the election.The LTTE did this to destroy the peace process that was ongoing, much to their detriment, although it benefited everybody.

  5. Anon 1: If Prabakaran was stil lalive – I would have called for him to be brought to trial for war crimes as well. If you read the post, I mentioned that LTTE members should also stand trial. War crimes were commited over the whole of the 26 years – all parties implicated including the UN should be be questioned (in my opinion).And I have never said that Sri Lanka isn't for everybody. The war might be over but that doesn't mean that there are many grievances still unaccoutned for.

  6. i have always believed, even at the height of the war, that we would have to some day acknowledge and apologise for the accidental civilian deaths that were part of the war, cause you really can't avoid them in a war. the opposition to this inquiry into alleged war crimes, at least from the common man, seems to stem from the double standard in the UN; why is SL being asked to submit to an investigation when countries like the US, UK and coalition forces continue to kill civilians in afghanistan. as for holding this government accountable, we the people seem to be failing on that on many fronts. most weekend papers report financial mismanagement by the government almost every week. we read about it, cluck about it and then fold the paper and put it away.i don't think denial by the government is the way forward. but i don't know how much good forcing the state into a corner about this will do either.as for "Tamils in the Diaspora are labelled as “terrorist sympathisers” because they want to see people brought to justice for the death of innocent Tamil civilians." i think most tamils in the diaspora are labelled terrorist sympathisers because they are. please note, i'm not lumping all tamils in the diaspora together, but it's only those who support/supported the ltte that make it to the news, draped in the tiger flag etc,. these things lead to building a perception about the diaspora. apologies for the long and disjointed post.

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