Connections | October 03, 2011

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සබැඳියාව | Connections (Sinhala)

– රටේ සංවර්ධනය වෙනුවෙන් ලොවපුරා ලාංකික ප්‍රජාව – ආචාර්ය හරේන්ද්‍ර විදානගේ අදහස් දක්වයි …
– ලංකාවෙන් මඟුල් තුලා සොයන විදෙස් ගත ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන්ට ආරංචියක්…
– කරුණාව දයාව හා මනුෂ්‍යත්වය බෙදා දෙන – ගුණ ජය සතුට පදනම…

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Sri Lanka’s uneasy peace

The Sri Lankan army says it has killed the top leaders of the LTTE [AFP]

Al Jazeera correspondent Tony Birtley has covered the Sri Lankan conflict since 1992. As the government declares victory over the Tamil Tigers he takes a look at the prospects for peace in the country.

In the lair of the Tigers the last bullets, apparently, are being fired in a bloody war that has cost tens of thousands of lives, billions of dollars and deprived one of South Asia’s most beautiful countries of peace for more than 30 years.

According to the Sri Lankan government, the war is all but over, one of the world’s most ruthless and sophisticated rebel organisations has been defeated.

Peace and reconciliation will follow, it says, and Sri Lanka will pick up the pieces and live in harmony.

But will it?

Certainly the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have ceased to exist as the conventional fighting force they evolved into.

They once numbered 30,000 strong and inflicted heavy defeats on the Sri Lankan military over the years, defeats that hurt the pride and prestige of the armed forces.

To understand the strength of the Tigers you have to understand the support they commanded from nearly a million Tamil diaspora spread throughout the world.

They provided the money and the network that gave the LTTE their arms, supplies and channels.

Continued support

Political and financial support for the Tamil Tigers remains strong [AFP]

Although some were forced to donate to the cause, many gave voluntarily and that support remains. If anything it is stronger than ever before.

The images of wounded, suffering Tamil civilians hurt and cowering in so called safe zones enraged many.

To critics of the Sri Lankan government it merely reinforces the view that injustice and discrimination against Tamil civilians that led to the start of this conflict still exists.

They point to the use of army controlled camps for the displaced, the fact that thousands of Tamils have disappeared without anyone being charged, and that few have been allowed to return to their homes.

The Sri Lankan government has always denied discrimination against Tamils.

They argue that their mission was to liberate Tamils from Tigers control and refute allegations that the security forces have been involved in either abductions or extra judicial killings of civilians.

Right or wrong it indicates the level of mistrust that exists between the two sides, mistrust that will take time to break down, mistrust that led to the formation of the Tamil Tigers in the 1970s.

Everyone said that the Sri Lanka problem could never be solved by military means, only by political means.

‘Political solution’

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, proved everyone wrong, but he had to spend a small fortune on the military to make it happen. He says a political solution will now follow.

But the question is, with whom? Who is there left to talk to?

The LTTE leadership has been decimated and many free thinking Tamil leaders have been killed or fled the country.

Critics say any political solution with the Tamils who remain will be meaningless.

The Tamil Tigers started as a hit and run guerrilla organization with deadly effect.

It is not beyond possibility that it could rise from the ashes and go back to doing what it did best.

In 30 years the Tigers never touched the coastal areas where foreign tourists spend their holidays. That could easily change.

The Sri Lankan Tourism Industry is already preparing for an end of war campaign to bring holidaymakers back to the Island. A cash strapped government is banking on it.

But one bomb could so easily shatter those hopes.

As a government Sri Lanka has lost some friends. It has replaced them with the likes of China and Libya.

But money cannot buy happiness.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed and wounded in pursuit of a united Sri Lanka. That has been achieved geographically, but not yet politically.

The war has been won but what about the peace?

Source :  Al Jazeera

Sri Lanka’s uncertain post-war future

The Sri Lankan government has declared victory over the Tamil Tigers, but sympathy for the group’s cause among ethnic Tamils around the world may now be at an all-time high.

As Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports, the war may be over but the reasons behind it persist.


Sri Lanka president declares victory in civil war

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s president declared victory Saturday in his nation’s quarter century civil war with the Tamil Tigers rebels. But the group’s top leaders remained at large as troops and the cornered insurgents fought fierce battles across the war zone.

A triumph on the battlefield appeared inevitable after government forces captured the last bit of coastline under rebel control early Saturday, surrounding the remaining fighters in a 1.2-square mile (3.1-square kilometer) patch of land.

Thousands of civilians who had been trapped by the fighting poured across the front lines, the military said.

“My government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation finally defeated the LTTE militarily,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said referring to the rebels by their formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“I will be going back to a country that has been totally freed from the barbaric acts of the LTTE,” he said in a speech in Jordan that was distributed to the media in Sri Lanka.

The rebels, who once controlled a de facto state across much of the north, have been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils after decades of marginalization by the Sinhalese majority. Responsible for hundreds of suicide attacks — including the 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi — the Tamil Tigers have been branded terrorists by the U.S., E.U. and India and shunned internationally.

The rebels also controlled a conventional army, with artillery units, a significant navy and even a tiny air force.

After repeated stalemates on the battlefield, the military broke through the rebel lines last year and forced the insurgents into a broad retreat, capturing their administrative capital at Kilinochchi in January and vowing to retake control over the rest of the country.

The rebels have insisted that if they are defeated in conventional battle, they will return to their guerrilla roots.

On Saturday morning, government troops sweeping in from the north and south seized control of the island’s entire coastline for the first time in decades, sealing the rebels in a tiny pocket of territory and cutting off the possibility of a sea escape by the rebels’ top leaders, the military said.

Government forces have been hunting for the reclusive rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his top deputies for months, but it was unclear if they remained in rebel territory or had already fled overseas.

Two senior fighters, known by their nicknames Sornam and Sasi Master, were killed in Saturday’s fighting, Nanayakkara said. On Friday, the navy intercepted a boat off the northeastern coast Friday and arrested the fleeing wife, son and daughter of the rebels’ naval leader, known as Soosai, Nanayakkara said.

Even as Rajapaksa declared victory, the military reported that fighting continued to rage in the northeast war zone. Huge explosions could be heard across the battlefield as rebels detonated their ammunition stocks and artillery dumps, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

Reports of the fighting are difficult to verify because the government has barred most journalists and aid workers from the conflict zone.

Some 11,800 civilians escaped the war zone Saturday, joining more than 200,000 others who fled in recent months and are being held in displacement camps, Nanayakkara said. Rights groups say the rebels were holding the civilians as human shields to blunt the government offensive. The rebels denied the accusation.

U.N. spokesman Gordon Weiss said an estimated 20,000 people had emerged from the combat zone in the past few days and were being processed by the government.

“We have no access to that process. We hold grave fears for the safety of the estimated 30,000 to 80,000 people who are still inside the combat zone,” he said.

Weiss expressed concern for the fate of the top government health officials working in the war zone — Dr. Thurairaja Varatharajah and Dr. Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi — “who courageously kept the medical services going throughout the months of the siege of the combat zone.”

The pair ran a badly understaffed makeshift hospital in the war zone that was repeatedly shelled and overwhelmed with hundreds of casualties from the fighting nearly every day.

The U.N. says 7,000 civilians were killed and 16,700 wounded from Jan. 20 through May 7. Since then, health officials say more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in a week of heavy shelling that rights groups and foreign governments have blamed on Sri Lankan forces.

The government denied firing heavy weapons and brushed off calls for a humanitarian truce.

The Critical Sri Lankan Humanitarian Situation

United Nations, New York, 23 April 2009 – The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Catherine Bragg, briefs the press on the humanitarian…
United Nations, New York, 23 April 2009 – The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Catherine Bragg, briefs the press on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.

UN responds to Tamil protests internationally calling for a ceasefire

The Real News

The UN is calling on the government of Sri Lanka to declare a ceasefire amid a looming humanitarian crisis and pending potential blood shed in the north-east of Sri Lanka. The Tamils in the diaspora are in seamless protests calling for international attention on the crisis. Dr. R. Cheran, Assistant Professor, University of Windsor, Ontario Canada sheds light on the crisis and explains why the government of Sri Lanka will likely not honor such a request by the UN.

Bio
R. Cheran is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Cheran is a poet, author and journalist. He was the Deputy Editor of the Saturday Review in Jaffna and served as the Editor of the Saranihar newspaper in Sri Lanka. He was a founding member of the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka.

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Gamini Viyangoda :Hors d`oeuvre_05(Sinhala Artical)

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