Victory over terrorism :
Why should Sri Lanka apologise?
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had its ground militant
force vanquished by the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka on May 19, 2009 after
several appeals made by the Sri Lankan President to lay down their arms
and surrender were ignored. Close to 12,000 LTTE fighters gave
themselves in, of which 594 were child soldiers and the Sri Lankan
military ended up sacrificing close to 6,000 lives to save 294,000 Tamil
civilians who had been herded by the LTTE to be used as civilian
combatants or hostages.
Some of the Tamil civilians who had been herded by the LTTE to
be used as hostages after being rescued by the Security Forces
That the world’s most brutal terrorist organisation, banned
internationally by 32 nations, had been finally defeated on its own home
turf was a shock to all. Sri Lanka’s terrorism was categorised as an
“unwinnable war” and it suited the world to allow Sri Lanka to be a
victim while it was happy to keep statistics on the number of peace
talks, ceasefires and negotiations held.
While it was always the Sri Lankan government that had to offer the
compromises, the LTTE got away with countless crimes, all of which the
international community put into a bag, terming it “both sides committed
atrocities”, yet it is always the Sri Lankan government that continued
to be hounded and questioned on accountability.
Why are these questions not posed to Father Emmanuel, Rudrakumaran,
the TNA leadership, Father Rayappu Joseph, Surendiran, Nediyavan and a
host of others in Tamil Nadu – all of whom have had close links with the
LTTE and had indirectly and directly played a role in LTTE terror? They
need to be questioned and asked to prove their innocence because, by
association too, they cannot escape their guilt.
We next come to the question of why some opine that Sri Lanka should
not celebrate the victory over LTTE terrorism and call for May 19 to be
declared as 'Reconciliation Day'. Mind you, these opinions come from the
very sources that are funded to tarnish Sri Lanka and destabilise it and
groups that have also had ties with the LTTE over the years. Their names
need to also be brought out into the open and they too need to be
challenged on proving their innocence.
It was on May 1, 2011, that US President Barack Obama, his Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton and the heads of the US Armed Forces watched
from the White House as US Navy Seals violated the sovereignty of
Pakistan, enter a compound in Abbottabad and shoot an unarmed Osama bin
Laden and several others including his son.
Leave aside Osama being a wanted terrorist, the issue was that there
was no self-defence to shoot, it was no war situation and moreover
watching a murder makes one an accomplice to that crime.
US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
and US Armed Forces
personnel watch the operation to hunt down Osama bin Laden
Nevertheless, after the official announcement, thousands gathered to
celebrate outside the White House, and similar gatherings were seen all
over the US and the entire world. Even sports events were interrupted to
relay the national announcement as did mainstream television channels
who interrupted scheduled broadcasts to relay the news to 56.5 million
Americans, people were shouting U-S-A, carrying slogans, carrying the
American flag, jumping up and down in glee while former Presidents rang
President Obama to congratulate him on the victory.
Profoundly important moment
President Bill Clinton's message was that the death of Osama was “a
profoundly important moment for people all over the world who want to
build a common future of peace, freedom and cooperation for our
The New York City Mayor announced that he hoped the death of bin
Laden “would comfort those who lost loved ones” in the 9/11 attacks.
Condoleezza Rice, the former National Security Advisor and Secretary
of State said that she was “overwhelmed with gratitude and continues to
be amazed at what our military has achieved”.
The former Supreme Court Justice Paul Stevens said that “it was not
merely to do justice and avenge September 11, but to remove an enemy who
had been trying every day to attack the United States… I haven’t the
slightest doubt it was entirely appropriate for American forces to act”
as they did.
Why then did Sri Lanka’s victory and celebration get the crucifix
with the UN Chief Ban Ki-moon asking Sri Lanka not to indulge in
“triumphalism”. We know the speechwriter chose the word, but on what
grounds did the US celebrate a killing of an unarmed man and several
others including his unarmed son by violating the territorial
sovereignty of an independent country for just a single attack on the US
in 2001 (though even that has yet to be proved) when there is sufficient
evidence of LTTE atrocities over three decades and far more civilian
deaths to count?
Americans celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden
If former President Clinton is happy that the children are now safer
without bin Laden, shouldn’t Sri Lanka be happier without Prabhakaran,
given that he kidnapped scores of poor and low-caste children and turned
them into child soldiers?
If the New York City Mayor is happy that the death of bin Laden has
“comforted” those who lost their loved ones in 9/11, what about the Sri
Lankan people whose loved ones were lost since the early 1980s due to
LTTE suicide missions numbering over 250, bombs and assassinations that
ran into three decades, targeting young clergy, border villages,
year-old babies cut into pieces, pregnant women with their stomachs
slit, students on their way to school, passengers travelling on buses,
politicians and even Tamil leaders who were against the LTTE?
Overwhelmed with gratitude
If Condoleezza Rice can be “overwhelmed with gratitude” and continue
to be “amazed” at what the US military has achieved, why can't Sri
Lanka, given that our tiny island remains the ONLY nation to have
defeated and crushed the deadliest terrorist movement on earth - far
more dangerous than Al-Qaeda? Bin Laden never ran terrorist aircraft,
Al-Qaeda didn’t have its own fleet of ships to smuggle arms and engage
in international rackets, bin Laden didn’t have a terrorist naval unit
that carried out specialised suicide missions.
The LTTE was far more sophisticated than any of the terrorist
movements that prevail and that no one can deny.
We next come to the topic of accountability and reconciliation. This
is an opportune time to look at Hitler’s Holocaust and the
de-nazification that resulted after the defeat of the enemy by Allied
The term 'de-nazification' was coined by the US Pentagon and became a
legal term in 1943. De-nazification Directives were on identified
people/groups and outlined judicial procedures to handle them.
It meant the removal of all symbols associated with the Nazi regime.
This included the swastika.
Sri Lanka needs to immediately apply the de-nazification directive to
all LTTE emblems and signages and take steps to demand all political
parties using the word ‘Eelam’ to change their name and the LTTE and
everyone associated with the LTTE to be put on trial, no different to
the trial for war crimes at Nuremberg.
De-nazification meant that people were put into categories – major
offenders, lesser offenders, followers and exonerated persons and
America applied this to every German over the age of 18 years.
The punishment for the Major offenders was immediate arrest, death,
imprisonment; the Offenders were those who were activists, militants,
profiteers and they were subject to 10 years imprisonment or
reconstruction work; the Lesser offenders were placed on probation for
two to three years but with no internment; the Followers had to face
restrictions on travel, employment, political rights and even fines;
while the Exonerated persons did not face any sanctions.
Perhaps the US State Department officials may like to go through
these documents before pointing fingers at Sri Lanka?
Third World nations
When the very nations pointing fingers have yet to compensate the
Third World nations that they plundered, the people they murdered, the
environmental disasters that they now suffer because these nations were
used to grow crops that were meant for their use and introduced
administrative systems and legal systems that continue to divide people
and legally protect the Western imperialists – why should Sri Lanka
Do we apologise for defeating one of the world’s most feared
Do we apologise because the West can no longer use the LTTE as a
forward to advance their agendas in Sri Lanka and the rest of South
Do we apologise because we have angered many an NGO who now have no
reason to remain in Sri Lanka and whose livelihood is at stake?
Are we to apologise because a lot of other people who stood to gain
while the LTTE prevailed and the discussions for political solutions
meant that many were enjoying additional perks and privileges?
Do we apologise because a handful of Tamils using the Sri Lankan
situation as a plank to obtain refugee status now find themselves called
“economic refugees” and are being sent home?
Do we also apologise because those that made merry out of the
troubles in Sri Lanka, pocketing from the US$ 300 million LTTE kitty,
are now having to devise other ways to keep the show running?
Do we apologise for creating an indigenous rehabilitation program and
reintegrating close to 12,000 former LTTE combatants who now lead a life
Do we also apologise for giving a Presidential Pardon to 594 former
child soldiers because the Sri Lankan State considered them victims
rather than perpetrators?
Do we also apologise for putting these surrendered former LTTErs
through proper education and vocational programs and allowing them to
sit for the O/L and A/L examinations and embarking on careers or further
Do we also apologise for introducing these former Tiger combatants to
society just as some laughed at the manner in which female former Tigers
modelled clothes on the catwalk? Would those that laughed at these girls
prefer them to be holding guns?
Are these people laughing because these former combatants were
married in a ceremony organised by the Army, are these people envious
that these former combatants are now singing, dancing and even acting?
Do we apologise for ending the terrorism and ending the manner in
which the LTTE kidnapped poor and low-caste Tamils and turned them into
LTTE child soldiers? The reason these children never made the news was
because of the rigid Tamil caste system and because NOT a single Tamil
politician, NOT a single member of the Tamil Diaspora cared what
happened to these child soldiers, because they were not only poor, they
were LOW-CASTE – thus outcasts of Tamil society!
Do we apologise for taking vast amounts of loans, some of which were
supposed to be for development of the South and instead spent on
developing the entire infrastructure framework of the North that had
been totally neglected by the LTTE and their stooges?
Do we apologise for giving electricity to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu
- areas where for three decades, the people were denied electricity
because the LTTE blew up the transformers, wanting to keep the people in
Do we apologise for maintaining a military presence in the North
because we are well aware that the destabilising operators are still
hunting to carry out some type of covert operation? Are we insane to
recall the military when we know the ground realities? And who says the
military is not welcome in the North? The people of the North prefer the
military among them, far more than they want their own politicians and
this is visibly clear in Mullaitivu. We are well aware what media
campaigns are capable of doing and of media personnel who enjoy putting
Do we also apologise for bringing normality to the entire country?
For bringing peace, for making sure not a single bomb has gone off, for
ensuring not a single assassination has taken place by the LTTE in four
When not hundreds or thousands, but MILLIONS languish as displaced
persons in their own lands, or suffer as refugees in distant
neighbouring lands because Western forces forcibly invaded their nations
on false allegations and turned their nations upside down and armed
rebels to fight their own people - Sri Lanka did not invade another
nation, Sri Lanka has resettled every Tamil civilian who was herded by
the LTTE from their homes, Sri Lanka has virtually demined all areas
that will now be declared safe for people to travel to and Sri Lanka’s
success story deserves plaudits and not the brickbats that are being
thrown its way unfairly and unjustly.
Anyone visiting the North will see for themselves. It is not Sri
Lanka that needs to do the apologising, but many people who include
locals, local politicians, local businessmen, local public officials,
even some military personnel who for money betrayed their own comrades
and that list of apologists include foreign governments, foreign
politicians, media personnel, elements of the clergy, NGO and INGO heads
and many others who have knowingly watched a terrorist movement to
prevail.No apology should come unless the international community
neglects and ignores the scores of LTTE representatives who function
from their nations openly, under bogus charity names and associations
and who have by association with the LTTE revealed their guilt.It is
this list of people who need to be rounded up and questioned and made to
apologise for the soldiers who died unnecessarily, for the civilians who
became target practice and for the economy which was affected through
three decades.Sri Lanka is not the one to be apologising. Our victory is
a salute to our war heroes – all those who are now no more, all those
who suffered loss of limb and are confined to wheelchairs and suffering
other traumas and to the Armed Forces and Police personnel who played a
major role in that victory, to the Defence Secretary who showed
tremendous resolve in giving the backing to the Armed Forces heads and
to the Sri Lankan President who weathered the diplomatic battle,
surrounded by the friends (China, Russia, Pakistan) who helped conclude
the war against terrorism.
Sri Lanka stands proud of every one of you.