Re: Tamil tragedy Continues – July 17,2009
Posted on July 20th, 2009

Ira de Silva London, Ontario, Canada

To National Post
Toronto, Ontario.

Re: Tamil tragedy Continues – July 17,2009

 I am writing in response to an article by Roy Ratnavale titled “The Tamil Tragedy Continues” published on July 17, 2009. It is a litany of half truths and fabricated statistics that are the hallmark of Tamil Tiger terrorist propaganda. I will comment on some of the most questionable statements to illustrate the false information that is flooding the international media in the wake of the deaths of the Tamil Tiger terrorist leaders in May.

 What he calls the “so-called humanitarian rescue” of civilians undertaken by the Sri Lankan armed forces was in actual fact a humanitarian rescue because the Tamil civilians being held hostage by the LTTE, on the sliver of land behind earth walls over twelve feet high, were those who had been driven from their homes during the past two years by none other than the LTTE. It is no secret that the LTTE used the civilians to build these walls, kept them captive as a human shield and shot them when they tried to escape. Therefore it was a humanitarian rescue.

What is noteworthy is that throughout this period, there were no complaints from the Tamil diaspora about the LTTE doing this to their “family and friends”. The Tamils overseas continued to collect money and fund the LTTE in their terrorist war with callous disregard of the civilians who were under the control of the LTTE. There was never a word of criticism about the complete disregard by the LTTE of humanitarian values even when it was of Tamils who were supposedly their family members. There was no call to the LTTE, who they supported and funded, to release their family so that they could go back to their homes. However, when the LTTE were cornered and using these Tamil civilians as forced labour, conscripting children as young as ten years and using them as cannon fodder, depriving the civilians of the food and medicines provided free by the government, (throughout the thirty years of conflict it was the Sri Lankan taxpayer that fed the Tamil civilians and the LTTE terrorists as well as provided medicines, education and administrative services etc.), there were demonstrations all over the world and the cries heard on the streets of Toronto, Ottawa and elsewhere in the western world were that the Tamils overseas were concerned about their relatives and friends who were among the civilians trapped in the fighting. There were demands on western governments by the Tamil diaspora to call for a ceasefire, immediate negotiations with the LTTE by the government of Sri Lanka as well as to enable the LTTE hierarchy to evacuate to another country. The governments of western countries, where the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora were demonstrating, obliged their Tamil constituents with these “demands” in the hope of support at the next elections. Articles such as this must be to keep their pressure on western politicians to criticize Sri Lanka and make a different set of “demands” on the government of Sri Lanka.

 As for the 20,000 Tamil civilians who were “massacred” in the conflict zone, that is another canard put out by the LTTE and carried by media sympathetic to the LTTE. Civilian deaths published in the international media were mostly derived from the propaganda arm of the LTTE which claimed the UN as their source. When the UN issued a disclaimer to a published report it was not published by the LTTE nor the media because they were not interested in reporting the truth, were biased in favour of the LTTE and were intent on vilifying the Sri Lankan government. The first report of 20,000 civilian deaths in the final days came from the UK Times. The “source” was supposedly the UN. However, Sir John Holmes, the UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief rejected the report stating that “this figure had no status as far as we are concerned”. Even the previous figures of 7000 civilian casualties from February to April 2009, which were supposed to be from the UN, were rejected by him in his interview with Al Jazeera on May 30th when he stated that “these figures have been based on unverified and unofficial estimates and hence not published by the UN”. These persistent falsehoods are repeated by LTTE propagandists because that has been their method of propaganda over the last thirty years hoping that constant repetition will make them a “fact”. The international media has being manipulated successfully in this manner over the last twenty-six years by the LTTE. The correspondents who write these lies are either incapable of ascertaining the facts, have just a nodding acquaintance with truth, are being paid to publish these lies or are sympathetic to the LTTE terrorist cause. One of the correspondents of the UK Times, Mary Calvin even claimed to have contacted Norwegian and UN officials in the last days of the conflict to arrange for surrender of members of the LTTE. That is how close these British correspondents were to the LTTE.

 The other canard is that 1400 people are believed to be dying every week which also originated from the UK. This was supposed to be taking place in the main centre where there are 45,000 displaced persons. At the rate of 1400 per week there should be no one left after a period of 30 weeks. The World Health Organization representative in Sri Lanka, Dr. Mehta issued a statement on July 17th which states that the numbers stated in some media are “exaggerated”. He states that contrary to the statements of deaths speculated in some sections of the media, the actual figures of deaths due to the diarrhoea disorder in some relief villages and camps accommodating the displaced were well within the accepted standards and that a clarification has been issued. Needless to say, LTTE propagandists choose to ignore the WHO. Dr. Mehta also stated that he had visited the camps over five times during the past three months and that during each visit, had found the situation to be “rapidly improving”. He commended the Government of Sri Lanka in this regard and stated that the government should be given “full credit”. As in the case of the bogus numbers of deaths, these false statements are made by LTTE sympathisers without any basis in fact. It is also necessary to point out that when these civilians broke away from the LTTE they were malnourished and sick because although it was the Sri Lankan government that provided food and medicines even to the LTTE, the civilians were deprived of this free food by none other than the LTTE who had so much food that they used bags of rice, lentils etc. to fortify their bunkers.

 Regarding the statement “some girls and women have become pregnant due to rape” it is not clear who is raping these girls and women but has been included for “effect”. It stands to reason that with people living in close proximity in family groups any attempt at rape would be quickly stopped and exposed. The people in the camps are all Tamil families and unless rape is a part of the culture acquired after their subjugation by the LTTE, which it is not, then this too is false.

 As for illegal chemical weapons, it was not the army but the LTTE that were producing chemical weapons and there is pictorial evidence of their factories, stocks of chemicals including gas masks etc. that were found in the areas temporarily controlled by the LTTE. Interestingly the “consultants” to the LTTE in this regard were foreigners possibly INGO personnel. As for the statement that “according to reliable sources, the Tamil people are being disenfranchised and victimized by the Sri Lanka authorities”, again it was the LTTE that disenfranchised and victimized those Tamils they controlled because they did not believe in elections and did not permit them to vote. At the last presidential election there was a report that the LTTE cut off the hand of a person who voted. That injustice has stopped by the elimination of the LTTE hierarchy in Sri Lanka. Local elections have been held in the east and are on track in the north of Sri Lanka too.

 Finally, regarding the “Tamil people must be allowed to live in peace and flourish in their homeland”, since all Tamils claim Tamil Nadu, India as their homeland and as there can be only one “homeland”, if Ratnavale has any complaints he should address them to the government of Tamil Nadu, India. I am unaware of what the government of Tamil Nadu is doing to deprive them of peace and stopping them from “flourishing”.

 Yours truly,

 Ira de Silva
London, Ontario, Canada

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