The furor over the 'Report' has shown how duplicitous the Govt. and its spokesman are and while we may be able to fool the majority that matter to the elected in Sri Lanka, in the court of international opinion we are just mush! zilch! Even if one reads the opinions given by both the Russian and Chinese (Indians have remained strangely silent!) they are just supporting the President implicitly through their Ambassadors locally, but not a word from Beijing and Moscow who are careful to sit on the fence.
Why is it that if we did not accept the commissioning of the panel, we secretly had negotiations and then later openly the Attorney General and Diplomats to the UN have discussions with the Panelists? Was it that we wanted to placate the international fora, while keeping the local stance? The contents of the report are not at all surprising, as this is merely a regurgitation of past accusations, now formalized albeit only to the UNSG.
I believe the least we should have done after participating would be without sending mixed messages as given by the foreign minister, asked for time to take each of the points and present the SL side, so that the Report and the Govt. official response been released at the same time. It could easily have been done, but the arrogance of power prevented such a balance.
I cannot understand that, as this war was a JUST war to eliminate arguably the most fearsome and inhuman terror group, the Govt. was unable to come out with the facts as the Govt. saw it and defended their actions. It is easier at the point of winning to explain collateral damage, and in view of all the satellite imagery now available to all, explain how hospitals were shelled and why. As it was not deliberate policy, it could have been a mixture of isolated deliberate instances in the heat of the battle when shells were falling on the forces as well as inaccuracy on the part of the coordinates fed into the guns or quality of the firepower used.
I distinctly remember the time when we were told that at most 70,000 were holed in with the terrorists, and that they were the Maaviru families of the fighters and so were ostensibly part of the greater fighting force. If the Govt. believed that, then everyone in the misnamed no fire zone was fair game. The Govt. made a colossal mistake calling it the no fire zones as that was a call to the Tigers to group there, as otherwise why would they use Human Shields in the fire zones as everyone in the fire zones will be eliminated and not shielded! It may have been even called that deliberately so everyone would go there to be fired on.
It is also now claimed that India was complicit in the whole operation at the time, knowing full well what was going on and also approved of it as even they wanted the LTTE totally annihilated anyway and SL were doing a perfect job of it. Whatever the merits of this argument, when 350,000 emerged fleeing the fighting it must have taken everyone by surprise, as by that time it was a no brainer that people who were holed up were mainly innocent civilians, forced to be there from the LTTE retreat of the past few months unable to flee until the SL troops cleared a safe passage.
When one looks at this number and the shelling that occurred, then it is no wonder that 10,000+ innocents may have perished in the conflict. It is too late for the UN to have post mortems now. It was paramount that the local UN staff give the UNSG at that time, the true gravity of the situation, and pass the responsibility of action to him at that time. In my opinion therefore it was at that time, prior to the time that civilians were escaping the clutches of the terrorists, for the UN to demand a free passage complete with UN cover for a max of 5 days for civilians to flee and so then only the LTTE would have perished en mass. UNSG failed miserably, partly due to the failure of the UN system to protect the true innocents, possibly due to some partiality to the LTTE also or for reasons that I am not privy to.
The soldiers were tired of the war, wanted to finish it off, saw that it was possible, like in all end stages, allow the Govt. to lie publicly about what they were doing and then indulge in heavy weapon shelling. If you were the commander there, would you risk the lives of your tired troops for hand to hand combat when you have weapons at your disposal to finish the job with less casualties on your side? The morale of the Army was high, but based on absolute hatred of the enemy and the destruction it had caused to the country over a protracted period, and many having lost close friends. It is unlikely that civilians were intentionally targeted.
Of course there was ( and this is pure conjecture based on 15 years of living in Southern California, where the Sinhala and Tamil diaspora were at diametrically opposing poles ) the desire of the Defense Secretary coming after a long stint in Southern California being exposed to total hatred, of wanting to teach the Tamil Diaspora, that he had them by the balls!! the wish to finish it off before some power forced a ceasefire and a return to stalemate. So when the word from the front came that they were close to finishing it off, its easy to say take no prisoners and save our boys from potential suicide cadres.
Now why is it we are too chicken to tell the truth? It is the Sinhala gathiya to tell the truth only when we are beaten into pulp by the police as is done to this day in Sri Lanka. So if our leaders are unable to be truthful, ( I guess they are politicians so they are inbred to lie) we all have to suffer.
I know of one way to get to the truth, we can then save this country from its banal leaders, and get our respect back, until then we in Sri Lanka will suffer for the sins of our leaders. So don't just follow your leaders and believe everything they say, it is really only for their self preservation that they act and not yours or the country's.
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