Film on Child Soldiers: Stories that officials of the UN/INGOs/NGOs and Human Rights shunned from public domain
Posted on September 22nd, 2014

 Shenali D Waduge

Butterfly is a film by Vishnu Vasu screened at the National Film Corporation in August 2014. Its characters were REAL and their stories were equally real. The question is why have these stories never once been taken up by officials of the UN, the foreign envoys and delegations present at the UNHRC as well as the Human Rights and even media advocates who were well aware of LTTE’s conscription of children? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psFdvYEX71s

  • EVERY CHARACTER IN THIS FILM IS REAL
  • LTTE ABDUCTED CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 10
  • MANU GOT BRUTALLY ASSAULTED FOR TRYING TO ESCAPE
  • MY FATHER BURIED ME 76 TIMES TO SAVE ME FROM CONSCRIPTION – Some hid their children in suitcases and carried them on their heads.
  • “First they came for my son. He died. Then they came for my son-in-law. He died too. Finally they came for my daughter. I pleaded at their feet. But they dragged her away like an animal. The memory of my children haunts me all day long. I feel like ending myself. But I have no choice. I have to live for my grandkids. I am the grandmother of these three innocent kids.”  
  • I WAS THREE MONTHS PREGNANT WHEN THEY FIRST ABDUCTED ME.  FIRST THEY BEAT ME, THEN THEY GAVE ME POISON TO KILL MY BABY. BUT I SURVIVED – DUSHI
  • I STILL CAN’T SLEEP PROPERLY. EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYES I SEE THE FACES OF THOSE WHOM I KILLED WITH MY HANDS. I WAS ONLY SIXTEEN.
  • I DROVE A BUS FULL OF SEVERELY INJURED. THEY (LTTE) SAID THEY WERE TRANSFERRING THEM TO THE JAFFNA HOSPITAL IN A RED CROSS SHIP. THERE WERE THREE MORE BUSSES. IN 10 MINUTES THEY (LTTE) BLASTED ALL 4 BUSES.
  • WE WERE LOST AND HUNGRY. AN OLD MAN WAS CARRYING A LOAF OF BREAD. I SHOT HIM AND WE ATE THE BREAD. A SMALL BOY SAW US AND SCREAMED. I SHOT HIM TOO.

Why was there been a lack of concern by international authorities to stop children from being conscripted? We are well aware that the Special Representative appointed for children by the UNSG was a Tamil herself. She walked away with accolades and awards for compiling numbers but nothing was done to stop child conscription. This went on for 3 decades.

Why has there been little reference to the cruelties inflicted by LTTE upon Tamil people themselves. Obviously, these people were all low-castes and from the Vanni where a ready breeding ground for recruits was made available. These areas had no electricity and the people were totally cut off from the rest of the Tamils. What is also curious is why did the rest of the Tamils not come out to speak on behalf of these Vanni Tamils?

A father who had buried his child 76 times cannot have been the only father to take unbelievable measures to protect children from being taken by the LTTE. There are even stories of fathers impregnating their daughters to prevent them being taken away too. What a trauma these Vanni Tamils would have suffered. It should make the Tamils living overseas and elsewhere throughout Sri Lanka ashamed and embarrassed that they did not come out to defend their own.

The recounting of instances where innocent people were gunned down are many. Innocent Tamils killed by an LTTE supposedly fighting for an Eelam for the Tamil people. These stories will reveal LTTE as liars.

On Film is the very person who drove the vehicle with injured LTTE cadres and all 4 buses were blown up by the LTTE. It was a gruesome act and violation of Geneva Conventions but never will these stories be tabled by the peace doves or human rights activists!

Is it not strange that none of these current players have ever used their positions to showcase any of LTTE atrocities to the world. What is important is that most of the UN/INGO/NGO offices were all located in LTTE territory, these officials moved freely with the LTTE heads – therefore the question is why did they not report the violations being committed by the LTTE. Now the US delegation that has blood on its hands of 1.5million deaths in Iraq alone, says it was late in taking action to save civilians during the final phase. What did they do throughout the 30 years LTTE was carrying out its ruthless campaign. All these officials, foreign envoys, human rights advocates were all regular visitors to the North and they saw for themselves how the LTTE functioned surely they cannot pretend they did not see 10 year olds holding guns in hand???

The silence to the atrocities, ignoring the impending debacle, being aware that LTTE were taking civilians as hostages makes all the players that had been having tete a tete’s with LTTE over the years guilty and accountable.

It also points fingers at the Tamil people themselves for their silence. The majority of these children were recruited by force, they joined because of extreme poverty while for others it was a thrill to hold a gun. What did the Tamil Diaspora sending dollars and pounds do for the welfare of these people all these years? Were sections of the Tamil people happy to have their own used as cannon fodder so they could win asylum and refugee status in western shores?

The Butterfly, film is an excellent effort to showcase the harrowing experience these Tamil children went through. It will certainly place Tamils as guilty participants for their silence all these years for how many children would have died in combat for a cause that was just to satisfy the megalomania of an individual and his coterie of followers making merry of a conflict that was funded to destabilize the nation.

Have we ever heard a single UN official, foreign envoy, UNHRC head, INGO/NGO head come before the UN and its members and produce the examples of how Adele Balasingham the Australian nurse trained young children as combatants and at the end of the training handed them a cyanide capsule with orders to commit suicide. Is this not a criminal offence? Why have none of these human rights crusaders brought any of LTTE’s crimes before the UN and demanded the world take action against the LTTE when LTTE openly ran foreign offices in London and elsewhere without any fear despite the UK proscribing the LTTE in 2001?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr8JP5-4lVA

Instead what do these human rights angels end up doing, they are producing reports from aspiring refugee/asylum-seekers who would say anything so long as they are granted right of stay in western nations. What is interesting is that there are centres in the UK that for a fee inflict cigarette but burns, medical doctors who give certificates that these burns were recent and reports that declare the armed forces as the guilty party. It would be good if some of these victims of inflicted wounds who are now suffering from these wounds which they paid for come out and tell their story too and it is worth putting a film on that too exposing the Tamil solicitor agencies in the process.

The film raises questions

  • Why did conscription of children as young as 10 continue for 3 decades if the UN and international community was well aware of it?
  • Why did the Tamil people keep silent about the LTTE atrocities for 3 decades. Only now we are learning of fathers burying their children 76 times, carrying their children in suitcases….why were these stories shunned from public domain?
  • When the UN and international organizations located amongst LTTE in LTTE held territory were aware of the crimes the LTTE were involved in why did they not take action against the LTTE?
  • Why were LTTE crimes which the international organizations were directly privy to keep silent without bringing them before the UN General Assembly

It would be good for the US, the international community and even the Tamil people to answer at least some of these questions first for a change.

 Shenali D Waduge

2 Responses to “Film on Child Soldiers: Stories that officials of the UN/INGOs/NGOs and Human Rights shunned from public domain”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Very good.

    But wasting money on YARL DEVI train is a waste and counterproductive.

    When the train used to start from Medawachchi, Sinhala people could sit and travel. Now when the train starts from Jaffna Tamils will occupy all seats and Sinhalese will have to sit on the floor!

    A very bad decision. It DEPRIVES Sinhalese in Anuradhapura, etc. a chance to travel in train.

    NO VOTES will come to UPFA because of this. In fact UPFA will LOSE Sinhala votes DISGUSTED of not having seats to sit and travel. Railway department LOSS will worsen.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    The ONLY way to tell the horror of that 30 year war is for the Sri Lankan media to make it a central issue and propagate the real stories relentlessly as the Jews have done regarding the Holocaust. If the Sri Lankan media refuses to do so then it falls upon the Buddhist Sanga. the Buddhist Sanga has been the spiritual strength and the voice of Sri Lanka for two thousand three hundred years and MUST carry on that tradition REGARDLESS if the Tamil issue is settled or not.

    Sri Lankans must embrace in their collective minds of the horror of that war so it will NOT be repeated again. it must become part of the Sri Lankan Buddhist Doctrine of what is truly evil even when the world has long decided to forget it. If the Jews let the Christians decide the fate of the Holocaust of Nazi Germany there would not be a constant reminder by them of it.

    In order for the Sri Lankan Buddhist culture to grow and for Sri Lanka to stay a united nation the lessons learned of this war and the atrocities committed to justify splitting Sri Lanka has to be part of the collective culture of the land and a written part of her unbroken written history regardless if the UNHRC wants to ignore it. Only such a combined focused power of Sri Lanka will defeat divisive forces and unite Sri Lanka under the Sinhalese Buddhist ethos.

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