Reconciliation or Re- Capitulation?
Posted on May 20th, 2020

Palitha Sennayake

May 18th is a significant day for Sri Lanka because that was the day the country finally overcame terrorism that plagued the nation for three decades killing more than one hundred thousand people and pushing the country back economically by three decades. It is since that day that people could get about their activities freely, the children could be sent to schools with no fear of explosions, the businesses could carry on uninterrupted and most of all the investors would mull to move in, attracted by the positive prospects.  Dividends of peace were apparent all over the country and especially in the north and east where child recruitment and death of young people have stopped bringing altogether a fresh breath of freedom, that the current generation didn’t even know was possible. Therefore, this date was a date of significance for the entire nation where it came out from the shackles of the most ruthless and organized terror group, the world ever experienced.

The previous regime however, did away with the state commemoration of this day and the reason given was that this celebration could be offensive to the Tamil community whose youth died in this conflict and therefore a commemoration could infer triumphalism over that community. In the same breath they argued that this could endanger reconciliation of the different communities affecting eventual national unification. If that is what it takes to achieve national unity then a few would have qualms about suspending the commemoration.

The irony however is, with this decision to ‘let go’ this day we could observe a flurry of activity among Tamil nationalist organizations to commemorate this day with epithets ranging from ‘Remembrance day’ to ‘Day of Tamil genocide’. In this regard, it is with concern that we note that the Leader of the Liberal Democratic party in  England, Edward Davie,  proclaiming May 18th as the ‘Tamil genocide day’ while in Canada, May 18th is to be commemorated in grand scale as the ‘Tamil genocide day’ with the participation of the country’s Prime Minister.  However, the message people in Sri Lanka have to convey to the organizers of these events, especially if they are foreigners, is that to call what happened in Sri Lanka, a genocide, they either do not know their English or they know nothing about the conflict that raged in Sri Lanka.  ‘Genocide’ means the total extinction of a group or race of people in their own habitat. Own habitat is to mean the country in which that race fostered their civilization all that while. Tamils are the natives of Tamil Nadu, in Southern India and therefore any conflict concerning Tamils in Sri Lanka could not be called‘genocide’. Therefore, those who have launched this campaign either have not understood the world genocide or if they have, they do not know that Tamil are not an indigenous community in Sri Lanka.

The Red Indians in North America faced genocide in the hands of invading Spanish and English. In Canada the English and French subjected the native Inuit population to genocide; so are the Maoris in New Zealand, the Aborigines’ in Australia. Therefore, if genocide is to occur in Sri Lanka it is the Sinhalese that have to be annihilated and even that is not an unlikely scenario given the propaganda advantage the Tamil nationalism has gained claiming ‘ genocide’ of Tamils in Sri Lanka.   

Yet, in the end what matters is not the true situation but propaganda. As Hitler’s Natzi propaganda chief Paul Joseph Goebbels always maintained that ‘when a statement is repeated more often and constantly, the unquestioning human mind losses its guard and accept it as the truth’. That is exactly what the Tamil propaganda machine has been doing for the past 72 years.  Any unjust cause needs a lot of propaganda to sugar coat that cause. Hitler picked a very versatile propagandist to justify his ambitious world conquering campaign and similarly Tamil nationalism has a very effective propaganda campaign to support its separatist course in Sri Lanka.  There however is a difference between the German Natzi movement and the LTTE,  and that is Hitler spawned the Natzi propaganda to justify his campaign whereas the LTTE just walked in  to the propaganda campaign spawned by Tamil nationalism and justified itself.

What the successive Sri Lankan governments have tragically failed to understand is this propaganda dimension of the Tamil nationalist lobby and the fact that it overwhelmed all other tactics deployed by them up to now, including the LTTE terrorism.  The LTTE reigned for 33 years and it is now gone but the Tamil propaganda outreach is more than 72 years old and it still prevails making the biggest humanitarian operation of the world that rescued 290,000 endangered civilians in to a ‘genocide’.  That is not all, and let us now observe the issue of the number of deaths that are said to have taken place at the Nanthikadal rescue operation in May 2009.

The important point to note here is that the number of deaths recorded during the real rescue operation  at Nanthikadal has been moderate and realistic but yet is in complete contrast with  the numbers that are being claimed by Tamil nationalist today. For instance all the records available such as those of, the US military attache, the British military attache ( as quoted by  Lard Neseby), the UN Country team, the UTHR J report, the ICRC report, all gave the number of dead in the range between 7,000 to 9,000 and that number included the LTTE combatants as well. All these were situation reports that recorded the events then and there during the operation. Ironically however, the UNSG’s Panel of Experts’ report ( Darusman report) that investigated after 2 years of the conflict has claimed 40,000 deaths. Then the same report after 2 years and 6 months quoted a figure of 75,000 deaths. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, giving evidnce before the LLRC claimed  that 147,000 Tamil civilians died at Nanthikadal. Franances Harrison, the BBC correspondent,  publishing a book in 2014 ( 5 years after) titled ‘Still Counting the Dead’also claimed 147,000 deaths. M/s Yasmin Sooka, a member of the UNSG’s Panel of Experts, in a report published in 2005 by the English Bar Association titled, ‘The Unfinshed War’ claimed 200,000 deaths. And the latest now is that the Tamils in Canada are commemorating May 18th as the ‘Tamil genocide day’ where they claim 300,000 Tamils died.

Thus, we could now see that by every month and every year that passed since the conflict was over, that the number of deaths have increased exponentially. There definitely is a correlation between the increases of the  number that died during this rescue operation and the lapse of time since 18th May 2009 and hence it is very probable that, a few years from now the Tamil  nationalist will be commemorating the deaths of about a million Tamil civilians in  Sri Lanka on the 18th May, every year.   

Tamil nationalism has a cogent propaganda network that can turn things upside down with little help. With the turn of independence the Tamils started fighting for the loss of privilehes that they enjoyed up to then but they turned that in to post independent ‘grievances’. July 83 was the effect of years of terrorism by 5 Tamil militant groups up to then but they made it in to a cause to futher their quest.  

Therefore, the Sri lankan government, by doing away with the commemoration on the 18th May is contributing to the Tamil nationalist propaganda by acknowledging that some wrong has been done to the Tamil community; quite oblivious to the fcat that what matters is countering propaganda  even above the elimination of terrorism. This is because a more indepth analysis will reveal that it is Tamil nationalism and its propaganda arm that created terrorism and sustained it for 30 years  and not vice versa.  Therefore, the need of the hour is, not to be an aplogist for eliminating terror but to make a concerted and sustained effort to counter the Tamil nationalist proaganda arm that has done so much damage to the image of this country and is still continuing to do so. Capitulation to Tamil nationalist propaganda will only serve Tamil separatism making reconciliation that much more elusive.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress