Sri Lanka: Peace Direct Appeal for Peace and Justice
Posted on October 8th, 2009

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . K1J 6G1 . Canada

October 8, 2009

Carolyn Hayman, OBE
Chief Executive
Peace Direct London, UK

Dear Carolyn Hayman:

Thanks for the note.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Of course not, you certainly didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t seem to be rude in your previous communiquƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚©.

I gathered that you are a generous person and you meant well when you announced your concerns to the world about Sri Lanka, but somehow seemed to be ill-informed.

I want to tell you that I am not a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Johnny-come-latelyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ on the Sri Lankan issue as I have been following the story, day in and day out since 1980 and have over a thousand pages of published letters and articles trying to clear any misunderstandings and lies that have been thrown around to hurt Sri Lanka unfairly, the island which is dear to my heart.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  And I am on a Mission ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” that no one, absolutely no one hurts my Motherland unfairly, and I am prepared to take them on at any forum, whether it isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ in London, New York, Paris or Ottawa.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I hope you noted my operative word, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-UnfairlyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, as I am not bullish to go on defending Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s warts if there happen to be any.

And one more thing before I forget, I have absolutely no affiliation with the Sri Lanka Government whatsoever.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  My defense of Sri Lanka is purely because she is my Motherland, and she needs shielding from the spears, daggers, swords and darts that have been thrown at her for defending her sovereign territory and giving back its peoples the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”right to lifeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ which was taken away by the suicide bombing and claymore mine planting Tamil Tigers. If there is an impenetrable wall built around to protect her by the expatriate community, then I happen to be one of the bricks that make up that wall.

You told me that, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Obviously our information comes from a number of different sources, within and outside Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka and non-Sri Lankan, Tamil and Sinhala.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I hope you will, understand why I am not naming name.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Perhaps, you may want to add this information into your mix of information gatherings, and I will permit you to announce my name, Asoka Weerasinghe loud and clearly as your source, as I am prepared to field any challenges on my information from anyone.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  If anyone wishes to know my background, tell them that I am a Sinhala-Buddhist, not a political scientist but a geologist, palaeontologist and museologist with an academic background from the University of London and University of Swansea (Wales) and had lived in Britain from 1956-1968.

In your SOS circular soliciting support for Peace Direct you said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Three months later, an estimated 280,000 men, women and children ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” equivalent to the population of Cardiff ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” are still being detained in appalling conditions.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Now that you have announced your Sri Lanka Truths provided to you from your information suppliers, permit me to tell you the Sri Lanka Facts as I know it.

As of September 22, 2009, just four months after the end of a 26 year old Eelam here are some of the pointers from the situation report as highlighted for the benefit of Lynn Pascoe, UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, of the progress made up to then to rebuild Northern Sri Lanka to enable for an accelerated resettlement of the Internally Displaced persons (IDP).

It has been estimated that an astounding 1.5 million landmines were buried over an area of 402 square kilometres by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers) while they were retreating from the west to the east chased by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  And the world didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t hear a pip-squeak from the international Goody-two-shoes-peaceniks in protest against the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka has now purchased 10 de-mining machines from Slovakia and Croatia for $5 million.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is estimated that these machines can clear 5,000 square meters of land a day.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Up to this purchase human de-mining technicians managed to clear only 10 square meters of buried mines a day.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is the key for settling the IDPs.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Just a note of interest.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Kosovo is still de-mining their terrain 10 years after their war ended.

There is a moral protocol that Sri Lanka is adhering to the madness of ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ requesting them to let the IDPs go wily-nilly on to waiting danger just because ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Goody-two-shoesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and foreign bleeding-heart peaceniks like your Foreign Minister David Miliband, Bishop John Arnold of Westminster and Bishop John Rawsthorne of Sheffield who have bugged the Sri Lankan Government to do so.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  No, Sri Lanka will not let them go for the very reason that the Government will not want to see the 280,000 IDPs that they liberated pop-killed stepping on to landmines, popping off their lives like balloons pin pricked to win a stuffed teddy bear at an Amusement Stall at a Summer Fair in Blackpool. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ After all, the Tamil IDPs are their own people, and believe me, they love them more than any foreigner does or else they wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have let 6,200 of their brave soldiers go down trying to save the 280,000 Tamils who were taken hostage by the Tamil Tigers as a human shield.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Or else during the last days of the war, the Sri Lankan soldiers wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have carried feeble Tamil grandmothers and grandfathers in their arms like babies dodging Tamil Tiger bullets out of harms way to the Government controlled zones.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is a fact and not a fairy tale as there are field photographs and video footage to prove all this.

The de-mining machines should increase significantly the pace of de-mining which will lead to a more rapid IDP resettlement.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The US, your UK, Denmark, India, Norway, Japan and Australia are aiding Sri Lanka with this exercise.

At the end of August, a total of 445,370,401 square meters had been cleared of mines and UXOs (unexploded ordnance).

Renovation work of 12 rural health centers and hospitals in Killinochchi, Mannar and Vavuniya districts is due to be completed by the end of October.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition is also planning to renovate the Killinochchi base hospital.

Of the 1,011 schools of the Northern Province, 575 are now open and repairs are underway in damaged schools.

HereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s some heartening news which your SOS call did not account for.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The Ministry of Education reported that the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advance Level examinations (University entrance exams) were held at 10 special examination centers in Vavuniya for 1,263 displaced candidates who are presently housed in IDP welfare villages.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Among them were 166 ex-Tamil Tiger child soldiers. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ All these students were provided special tuition in makeshift class rooms in welfare villages. You bet, the Sri Lankan Government has opened the doors for these child-soldiers to pick up their lives and given them the opportunity to become, doctors, lawyers, engineers and astronauts if they so wish to.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  And the education is free.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is part of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s political culture in action of loving kindness and helping her own people in its multi-ethnic society.

The Zonal Education Office in Vavuniya successfully held Grade 5 scholarship examinations for 5,465 children living in welfare villages and in the transitional camp at Cheddiculum.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I doubt any of your information suppliers made an effort to point these positives at all or otherwise your draft of SOS call to help Sri Lanka would have been different.

The Sri Lanka government will be providing the returning displaced families with $220 ( around Rs. 22,000), galvanized roofing sheets, six months of free dry rations, kitchen utensils and equipment required for daily living needs to the equivalent of (US $40), as well as agricultural seed and equipment and fishing supplies for coastal communities.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  You bet, the Sri Lankan Government is going about it intelligently as there is a need for some order to thisƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  insanity call of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Let the IDPs go nowƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ by foreigners, especially from the west.

Here is another Sri Lanka Fact: Malnutrition in IDP children has decreased significantly during the past five months and severe acute malnutrition has gone down by 50 percent.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is a significant improvement in their nutrition condition, UNICEF ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Representative to Sri Lanka, Phillpe DuamelleƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  said today (Oct.8).ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  UNICEF had spent US $2 million for the entire nutrition program since May for IDPs. Around 27,000 IDP children were vaccinated and vitamins were provided for them.

Here is one more Sri Lanka Fact:ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Yesterday (Oct.7) the Sri Lankan authorities released 300 expectant mothers and their families from the Chetticulum welfare camp in Vavuniya.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  They were from areas of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaitivu.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  State owned buses had been provided by the Government AgentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s office to facilitate the return of these persons.

All these have been achieved in just four months. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Amazing!ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lanka needs a pat on her back and not the stupid negativism from the British like Gordon Brown, David Miliband, and Bishops John Arnold of Westminster and John Rawsthorne of Sheffield.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  They have all heard from me.

By the way, I just came across a news item ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” British MP urges boycott of Sri Lanka goods.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Siobhain McDonagh MP, Mitcham & Morden, UK, during the Labour Party conference on Thursday appealed to the delegates, and to millions of live TV viewers, to shoulder their own commitment on the Sri Lanka issue, urging that a boycott of goods and avoiding holidays in the unsavoury state would ensure their money would not ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-prop up that governmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

Yea, right! All what I would have said to Siobhain McDonagh is, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-You have just told me in a subtle way that you are a crafty politician.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  You are not interested in Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s woes but shown quite brilliantly your interest in propping up the local economy in times of recession by wanting the thousands of Tamil refugees and immigrants to change their culture based life-style habits by wanting them to start eating British eggs, sausages, bacon and hash browns for Breakfast and not dosais, idly or pongal; to start eating British steak and kidney pies, shepherdsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ pies ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and bangers and mash for Lunch and swill it down with a pint of Boddingtons or a pint of Newcastle Brown Ale, and not eat rice, vindaloo meat curry and rasam and not to swill it down with a good cuppa ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Ceylon Tea; and eat a good Angus steak with potatoes and home grown veggies or Blackberry Brandied chicken with home grown vegetables, or Fish and Chips for Dinner ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and not eat chicken buryani, dhall curry, lamb curry, papadam and coconut sambol ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ for Dinner. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Smart lady!

Lady, you stop Sri Lankan food items coming into Britain and you will have another problem on your hands.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  All the Tamil Grocery Stores, and Restaurants that are riddled all over London and its suburbs will fold up within three monthsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  depriving funds for your tax coffers, and there will be medical problems that you will have to deal with related to the sudden change of their diet.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Especially that of the Sri Lankan seniors.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is just a note of caution.

Siobhain, can you imagine seeing a silver-haired 60-year old Sri Lankan grandmother wobbling down Main Street in Ealing Broadway tagging her grandchildren along, not in a sari but in a pant suit and wedge-shoes rather than Sri Lanka made slippers.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  She may have tried British made high-heel shoes and may have toppled and hurt her ankles, who knows?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Get real Siobhain!

Siobhain, can you imagine the Tamil women at a party not in exquisite gold threaded saris ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ with crimson thumb-prints between their eye brows with 24 caratƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  gold dripping allover their faces, necks and wrists in the form of Sri Lankan designed and made nose rings, earrings, thaliƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s, bangles and bracelets studded with diamonds and blue sapphires, but wearing cheap costume jewellery, and cocktail dresses and pant suits? ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Get real Siobhain!ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Showing off their gold jewellery is how they store and show off their wealth.

All what I say to you Siobhain is, go ahead with your campaign and I could only wish you luck.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  And if you ever succeed, IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢d like to hear you say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-BooƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ to me.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

This is the type of mind boggling foolishness that Sri Lanka has to deal with taking away their energies and precious time from trying to get the IDPs out of the welfare villages and into their reconstructed or new homes after de-mining the terrain approaching their settlements.

With the Sri Lanka FACTS that I have presented to you which certainly do not reflect your SOS appeal for your Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, in which you say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Three months later, an estimated 280,000 men, women and children ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” equivalent to the population of Cardiff ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” are still being detained in appalling conditions,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ I sincerely hope that you and your working committee of PEACE DIRECT will have the courage to re-draft your appeal to reflect the ground reality before sending it around the world again.

And I still believe as I said to you in my earlier communiquƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚© that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Peaceniking has grown to become a lucrative million dollar business which has attracted too many Goody-two-shoes, too may parasites and too many liars, when it comes to the Sri Lankan context.


Asoka Weerasinghe

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