Sri Lankan ‘refugees’ detained in Australia and the brutal offensive against Tamil Tigers – SMH
Posted on November 16th, 2012

Asada M Erpini

A Sydney Morning Herald ( report dated 16 November, quoted by local Sri Lanka media, refers to a Tamil detained in Melbourne who had attempted suicide. The SMH correspondents go on to mention other similar events and the deportation of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”refugeesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ from Sri Lanka. It adds that international pressure ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-builds up for a boycott of the upcoming Commonwealth meetingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ in Sri Lanka.

The international pressure that SMH refers to is from a handful of affluent nations, comprising a mere four or five, which habitually never see anything positive happening in Sri Lanka, and their choirboys who have no choice but to obey their ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-masterƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s voiceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. The Commonwealth consists of 54 independent nations, and all except a few are quite happy and eager to be in Sri Lanka for the 2014 meeting. (Incidentally whether the so-called Commonwealth has any relevance today is another matter altogether!)

The rather baffling aspect to the average reader is the reference to 50 people (mostly Tamil) who have been found to be refugees but, at the same time, are being branded as a security risk by Australia’s own national security intelligence service (ASIO). As most people know, a refugee is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-a person who has been forced to leave the country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disasterƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ (Oxford Dictionary). An individual who has thus run away from a calamity can in no way be a threat to another: his or her only desire would be to save his or her life and get the barest minimum for survival. It is impossible for the two concepts of being a refugee and being a threat to the national security of any foreign country to go together. The large majority of the so-called refugees that SMH seems eager to embrace are, in fact, illegal economic migrants who aspire to have a better life in Australia than that that is possible in resources-limited Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, after all, cannot be such a bad place today, following the annihilation of the armed wing of the LTTE by the armed forces of the island nation. Shangri La of Hong Kong is into building a seven-star hotel in the heart of Colombo and another luxury resort in Hambantota. The Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) in Colombo Fort is to be upgraded to be a five-star hotel, and internationally reputed hotel chains such as Sheraton are entering the country. New five-star hotels are opening in the Eastern coastal belt, which was a no-go area when the Tamil Tigers held sway over vast swathes usurped from the sovereign nation of Sri Lanka. British Airways is resuming its flights commencing March 2013 and many other airlines are increasing their flight frequencies or seeking permission from the aviation authorities to enjoy a share of the pie. The best indications of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s achievements following the demise of the military wing of the LTTE are that Lonely Planet cited Sri Lanka as the best place for the visitor in 2013 and the World Travel Market industry report, released three days back, listed Sri Lanka among the top five tourist destinations. Obviously the average person or the visitor to the country should have no fears about Sri Lanka and its security status.

Let the Australian immigration authorities deal with the illegal immigrants as best as they consider fit: they can either welcome the fraudulent refugee status claimants with open arms, with the taxpayer footing the bill for the facilities offered, or send them to Nauru or Cocos, or even Timbuktu. Many in Sri Lanka, in the meantime, will be happy if the members of the LTTE killer brigades never set foot in the island, allowing the peace-loving folk back home to carry on with their lives.

One can only feel sorry for the SMH correspondents when they talk of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-brutal offensive against the Tamil TigersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. War is brutal and merciless: it spares no innocents: women, children and the old and the infirm suffer the horrors just as the perpetrators who started the moves that forced any legally constituted government to take action. There cannot be any mollycoddling of terrorists, who rule by the gun and the bomb, although Sri Lanka had gone the extra mile and had been almost pleading with the LTTE for arriving at a peaceful settlement. A previous President was even ready to offer the North and the East of Sri Lanka to the terrorist leader on a platter for him to run his Eelam! And, it is too soon for anyone, including the SMH correspondents, to forget the rows of dead bodies of Iraqi soldiers along the so-called Highway of Death in the final stages of the liberation war of Kuwait or the manner in which Saddam Hussein, Muammer Ghaddafi or Osama Bin Laden were eliminated by the US and/or its allies. If one were to use the word ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”brutalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ to describe these incidents that would be one of the biggest understatements.

Lonely Planet and World Travel Market are clear in their stance that Sri Lanka is fully worth a visit. Why not the SMH team take their advice and drop in on Sri Lanka before it posts the next report on the island nation?




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