Media and the suffering of the Tamil people

Alan Sunderland

Head of Policy

ABC

Sydney

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Sunderland,

 

 

 

Vavunia Refugee Camp May 2009


 

As a Tamil domiciled in Australia I served the Tamil community by editing the only Tamil community newspaper, UTHAYAM. I ran it for 14 years

 

My experiences in dealing with the Tamil community, both in Australia and in Sri Lanka, make me feel sad about the callous way in which the media is exploiting the suffering of our Tamil people for self-serving ends. I think I could speak as an independent voice with no allegiances to the politics of either community or political parties. My main concern has been to help our Tamils in Sri Lanka who had to face the brunt of all attacks from the Indians soldiers, Sri Lankan forces and, above all, the so-called Tamil liberators, the LTTE. I have just completed building a small hospital in the island of Eluvaitivu, in which I grew up and, sooner or later, I plan to go back to serve our Tamil people who are desperately in need of help.

 

It is against this background that I thought of forwarding my comments to you after viewing the re-broadcast of Channel 4 programme, The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka. I must confess I felt depressed and I could not sleep that night. I have recovered since then and I feel I must send you my comments for your consideration because I feel that you aired it to exploit the suffering of our people whose need of the hour is not to rake up the bloody past but to find a way out of the horrendous killings by all sides.

 

I fail to see how your programme could help the victims of the war – if that was your intention – when their immediate and long-term needs are to regain a future free from the carnage shown on Channel 4. The sensationalism certainly may help the ratings of Channel 4 and ABC but how will it help our people?

 

Our people who lived through the horrors of the futile war know that this is only one side of the story. Our Tamil leaders have informed the world that the LTTE has killed more Tamils than all the other forces – Indian, Sri Lankan and rival Tamil parties – put together. The moralizings of the media lacks credibility because our people who lived through the horrors of the war know who killed whom in what manner. Leaving aside the die-hard partisans, our people know that the LTTE was a cruel and beastly outfit they had never encountered in living memory – and do not want to encounter in all their lives to come.

 

Undoubtedly, there are Tamils who are jubilant about this broadcast because they are aligned politically to the side (i.e., the LTTE) that perpetrated the worst crimes against the Tamils. If Channel 4 produced a film of the atrocities committed by the LTTE against their own people and the other communities throughout the 33-year-old war – the longest running in Asia – it would shock the world beyond belief.

 

Sri Lankan Tamils now realise that their destiny is inextricably linked with Sri Lanka and Sinhala people

 

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/sri-lankas-killing-fields/4od

 

Imagine a film of LTTE which highlights the following events that were not included in the Channel 4 program:

 

1. LTTE gangs decimating the entire Tamil leadership in the democratic stream;

2. LTTE assassinating Tamil leaders of rival armed groups (there were 23 groups initially) just to claim that they are “the sole representatives of the Tamils”;

3. LTTE targeting the founder of the LTTE, Mahattaya, for Prabhakaran to grab power;

4. LTTE going round Tamil houses, knocking on doors at midnight, to grab under aged children hidden by Tamils parents;

5. LTTE massacring Muslims worshippers at prayer in mosques in the east;

6. LTTE killing and burning Tamil boys in 1986;

7. LTTE raping Tamil girls from rival Eastern group, Commandeered by Karuna Amman;

8. LTTE forcing young pregnant girls to jump from trees as a means of aborting their pregnancies – a tactic used to recruit them to fill the depleted cadres of the LTTE;

9  Ethnic cleansing of Muslims and the Sinhalese communities in the north and the east;

10. The disappearances of thousands of Tamil dissidents held as prisoners in LTTE concentration camps;

11. The slaughter of 600 policemen who surrendered to the LTTE in the hope of promoting peace talks;

12. The massacres of young Buddhist monks and pregnant Sinhala mothers in border village in remote Sri Lanka;

 

Then there is the documented story of Velupillai Prabhakaran herding nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians to serve as his human shield when he was retreating. In the last stages he shot the Tamils who were running away from him into the arms of the Sri Lankan forces who were commended or their humanitarian services by the Ban Ki-Moon’s expert panel and even by Gordon Weiss. Any Tamil who was in Prabhakaran’s human shield will tell you that the Sri Lankan force treated them humanely than the LTTE cadres.

 

The atrocities committed by the LTTE are numerous. Why didn’t Channel 4 balance their story with the other side? Yes, there were passing references to LTTE atrocities but you will agree that the blame was put entirely on the Sri Lankan government. Is this fair journalism?

 

It was a controversial document in which the best of experts disagreed on the authenticity and the accuracy of the contents. For instance, Channel 4 showed images of a young man who was tied to a tree, threatened with a knife and subsequently killed. I was told by sources in the Vanni that this was an LTTE operation and pictures were taken for propaganda purposes by LTTE. Have a close look and you will find among the so-called soldiers a man in slippers. Sri Lankan soldiers never go about in slippers when they go out on operations.

 

Those who know both sides of the story were appalled by your decision to air a partisan video. Despite occasional references to the LTTE the main thrust of the video was to blame the Sri Lankan government. You were aware of this gross distortion and you went ahead because it fitted into your biased political agenda. As stated by the London Sunday Times, it was shoddy journalism unworthy of a reputed media institution like the ABC.

 

Take the case of Suthanthirapuram which was declared as the first No-Fire Zone for the civilians. The LTTE moved their radio station and artillery unit to fire at Army points from NFZ. They were also firing at the advancing army from close proximity to the hospital or make-shift hospital. The AGA Parthipan and Dr Shanmugaraja can confirm this

I will quote another incident. When former EROS leader Balakumar and his family ,  who worked with LTTE for many years, tried to flee in a boat in Mullaitivu in 29th April                     2009, the LTTE, knowing very well who he was, fired at them ,  His young  daughter was critically injured and the bullets tore her forearm. Her hand is yet to heal.

 

These are facts.

 

 

How do I know all this? I travelled Sri Lanka seven times last two  years widely in war zones in Vanni and talked to the victims who were trapped in the war zones. They knew that they were targeted both sides and they could not comprehend why the LTTE should expose to retaliatory fire in the NFZ. They could not understand why the LTTE turned the NFZ into a war zone.

 

The agents of LTTE in the Tamil diaspora also shed a lot of crocodile tears about the 300,000 IDPs. They described the IDPs camps as concentration camps. Knowing the general conditions under which Sri Lankans live I can assure you that the conditions of the Tamils, particularly in the  in the IDP camps, were far superior to the slums of Colombo or even the conditions of the Sinhala villagers and hill country Tamils in remote areas.

 

Even the Tamil MPs of Tamil Nadu and Indian journalists who visited the camps were convinced that the Sri Lankan authorities had done a very good job under trying conditions. Besides a comparison with the manner in which the government treated the Sinhala JVP rebels who took up arms in 1971 will reveal that the LTTErs received far better treatment than the JVPers. Most of them were incarcerated for more than four years.

 

However, I wish to emphasize that at this stage the government has to accept responsibility for their share of the civilian casualties and apologise for that and compensate the next of kin. In calling for justice it is fair and just to hold the leaders in the Tamil expatriate groups who financed, lobbied, and gave moral and material support to the LTTE to prolong their futile war. They too are liable for aiding and abetting a banned terrorist group. Justice demands that these leaders, posing as human rights activists in Western bases, too should be tried  for the crimes committed by the LTTE against their own people.

 

On balance, it must be conceded that the elimination of the ruthless LTTE outfit was commendable. What Prabhakaran did to Sri Lanka was 100 time worse that Al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden did to America. Like America any democratic country had the right to eliminate threats to its sovereignty, peace and stability, transgressing, if necessary, international humanitarian law and international law.

 

India did it in Punjab and continues to do so in Kashmir. Russians did it in Chechnya. NATO allies are doing the same thing in Libya. America has done it in their war against Al Quaeda since 9/11.

 

At the end of it all Sri Lankan Tamils now realise that their destiny is inextricably linked with Sri Lanka and Sinhala people. Violence is not the way out. It was the LTTE who sought the military solution and started the war . they have reaped the bloody harvest they sowed. Now we must genuinely commit themselves to the paths of peace, reconstruction and rehabilitation because violence will not lead anywhere except to the destruction of the remaining Tamils in the north and the east.

 

Dr. Noel Nadesan

Editor,  UTHAYAM.

14/7/2011

 

Courtesy –dailymirror.lk/

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About noelnadesan

Commentator and analyst of current affairs.
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45 Responses to Media and the suffering of the Tamil people

  1. Pingback: Troubled legacy of civil war in Sri Lanka | Thuppahi's Blog

  2. Tony Fernandez சொல்கிறார்:

    This is what I have been waiting for—-YOU ARE A TRUE SRI LANKAN
    Brilliant work Noel and GOOD LUCK—BLESSINGS with your hospital project.
    Tony Fernandez

  3. chan சொல்கிறார்:

    We are all Sri Lankans. All of us should help out in the reconciliation effort. I have done my small bit these last 2 years but so much more needs to be done. In the country in which I grew up, my best friend was a Tamil. My father’s best friend was a Tamil and my sister married a Tamil. I applaud Noel. He is a true hero. People from all communities should speak up and band together as one family. As a teacher, I also believe all children should learn all 3 languages. Peace begins with children and with education.

  4. Minalie Fernando சொல்கிறார்:

    God Bless you and keep you safe…..you are a true HERO…..a few good men and women like you from among all ethnic communities of Sri Lanka is what the .. Heart of our little island nation has been crying out for …..
    NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE THE “POWER OF ONE”….to change the hearts and minds of a nation.
    I am Sri Lankan Sinhalese. At the start of the conflict I was sharing a room in Colombo with a Sri Lankan Tamil girl whose Brother had disappeared. She took me along with her on her mission to find him as her Dad who lived in Jaffna was in anguish. This mission took us to Armithalingam then TULF leader who informed us he was with the “boys” – she didn’t share her thoughts with me but I could see she was frightened. This was followed by a visit from Prabakaren – I couldn’t follow the conversation as I wasn’t fluent in the Tamil Language. After this visit my friend was in a bad state of mind and desperate to leave Sri Lanka.
    As all Sri Lankan Singhalese we didn’t fully comprehend what was going on in the Tamil Community.
    At the time I couldn’t see any discrimination – the Attorney General – Police Commissioner – Governor of the Central Bank etc. – were all Sri Lankan Tamils. Further I was training in a prominent business in Colombo which was owned by a Sri Lankan Tamil. My Parents had friends who were Tamil my best friend was a Tamil ……so you will have to forgive me, a Sinhalese, who did not understand the Tamil “cause”

  5. Justine சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Commentators, One thing is sure i.e. the comments by Tamil issues is not a tinny whinny issue. If one does not understand than go and talk to a Jew in Australia, USA, England etc. than only one can understand. So try ever to belittle the issue. It is a shame to read commentators who commnet about the issue even without reading enough about the history of Elam (old name for SL) and the root reason of the conflict. Even today in Germany after 60 yrs of world war two, there have been numerous films and comments on the Jews who suffered in the hands of the Jews. If any Sinhalese or Tamil try to brush away th ethnic issue, just keep you mouth shut and go and do enough research and then comment. It is sickening to hear half baked cakes talking. Why is the military taking away the lands belonging to the tamils in NE? Why did the military broke down the wanni Cheiftain Vanniar and King Sangili of Jaffna statues? Can a Tamil break down the status of the Singhala kings?

    • Ranjit Ratnayake சொல்கிறார்:

      I do not know how old this ‘Justine…’ is ? or what length of his life so far on this earth, he has spent in Sri Lanka. Has he lived in various locations of the Island, studied in various educational organisations, formed friendships and bonded with those in his school, college, church temple or mosque and sporting organisations where cricket and football teams consisted of many Tamil players who clicked so well or even had a happy working experience with his work colleagues and associates, of all casts and creeds during his formative and adult years that would have filled him with immensely happy memories?

      I address ‘Justine…’ direct now and say, that I was surprised that one with such shallow intelligence and puerile talk wanted to join an intelligent and serious discussion. I felt that you were either not born in Sri Lanka or even if you were, your formative years had been severely dented by parents who would have held you back from living that young and innocently joyous and enriching years that all of us youngsters of all walks of life, all casts and creeds throughout that Island experienced and so immensely enjoyed. Such happy young years would have been oblivious only to those who had not lived on the Island at all or only passed through on transit or some one who had been brought up like a mushroom (viz. ‘kept in the dark and fed with bul..sh.t’) by short-sighted parents. Your foolish talk made me nearly throw up, but then just in time I remembered that today’s social media allows anyone, “even fools, to rush in where angles fear to tread”.

      You speak of the temples. What do you know about Hindu shrines and Kovils through out the major cities and villages of the Island of Sri Lanka? Where many of us Sinhala people, love to walk into with our Tamil friends during the Hindu festive season and split coconuts and invoke blessings.

      Have you had any Tamil friends working in the many Banks, Government Departments, teaching Physics and Maths in schools, Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists working in Government and Private Hospitals, the many businesses – Pharmaceuticals, Jewellery, Food supply, Motor spares and Manufacturing industries owned by Tamils who provide goods and services to every one of the twenty one million Sri Lankans?

      Do you know any of the million-plus Tamils and their families in Colombo and other parts of the Island outside of the North; travelling in the same bus and train daily, living side-by-side in the same locality, rubbing shoulders and enjoying each others company?

      Using your own words ‘Shut up and do your research’, I would ask you to do the same. Undertake a travel to Sri Lanka. After all these years, it is a free nation now. You can travel to those parts of the Island, the Sri Lankans were barred from entering for a better part of their own lives; observe the ‘the de-mining efforts, resettlement efforts, the impetus to new business ventures, the infrastructure development, talk to people in the Main Street of Jaffna, gauge their happiness levels on their faces and their wellness levels. Travel from Point Pedro to Dondra observing how the peace, that once we knew has once again started spreading across the Island.

      Take the queue from Dr Nadesan, and tell start telling the Politicians, both Tamil and Sinhalese who are trying to bring discord into the process of peace, ‘where to get off’ and let the people adjust and handle ‘peace’ in their lives the way they want it.

      • Sivan சொல்கிறார்:

        Ranjit:
        I (including many other Tamils) have absolutely no idea what kind of Sand you had your head buried in the last 60 years.

        Please tell me if you cannot recall the 1983 Week Long Riots in July.

        Please do not tell me you did not know the ‘mob’ also consisted of police, army and registry office staff to identify Tamil property.

        I agree hundreds of Singhalese did help many a Tamil. No single Tamil is against the Singhala People or their culture.

        Why then are you all afraid of the ‘Truth’?

        We (yes Singalese and Tamils) have a Govt. which has imprisoned it’s own Senior Army Officer just for standing in opposition.
        Singhalese media editors have been killed for trying to expose corruption.
        Why is it you and all your Singhalese (and some Tamils) become defensive when we demand ‘Justice’?
        Do you want a Single Party Autocratic Regime in Sri Lanka?
        The number of members in this party’s cabinet make up a ratio to population that’s the largest in the world.
        For Heaven’s Sake – Wake Up!

  6. Dudley L சொல்கிறார்:

    I am a Sinhalese and you are a Tamil but it does not really matter to which community we belong. What I can say with certainity is that you are a true son of Mother Sri Lanka and is a person who appears not to be afarid of speaking your mind and calling a spade a spade.I believe the minority who are trying to scratch old wounds are only doing so to meet their own ends and do not have any true regard to the suffering innocent people be they Tamils, Sinhalese or Muslims went through during the last 20 to 30 years.Thank god it is over now

    If we have more broad-minded people like you, we can dream of a better Sri Lanka.

  7. Sena சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Dr.Noel Nadesan!
    I am a Sinhalese and a Buddhist too, who had my education in Christian schools and a college administered by Christian Brothers. I had several friends from Tamil community from school as well as during my 21years service in Ceylon Govt. Railway. We lived in harmony and as at today I have very many Tamil friends here and abroad who have their homes opened for me and my family. Tamil/Sinhala conflict has it’s roots on extremists Tamil as well as Sinhala politicians who ventured into politics as a means of their profession and not as a service to masses, who misled youth for their own political gains, thus creating conflicts between the two major races in Sri Lanka that finally led to lot of unrest and the civil war that finally ended in May, 2009. Your exposure of events and bold narration of the ills of the past should open everyone’s eyes now to rebuild our nation for a unified Sri Lanka for all races of this country to live as one nation. I salute you for your valour and straightforwardness in your presentation. Keep the good working being done to enlighten the misled to lend their heart and sole for restoration of harmony and prosperity of future Sri Lanka.
    Thank you Sir!
    Sincerely yours/Sena Fernando.

  8. Roshan சொல்கிறார்:

    Dr. Noel, you have very well exposed the truth. I am also a Sri lankan. It is really good to see that people like you do exist and reveal the truth.

    I truly believe that the government forces has rescued the tamil people from the LTTE atrocities. For that tamils must be thankful to the forces.

    In a war there will always be killings lawful or unlawful… it is a war, A soldier or the enemy is expecting their death every moment / second in their life. In a bloody war there can be moments that ethics/rules shall be not be always followed. I am not telling that it is correct, but at the end of the day, was it a PEACE MARCH, ANNUAL PARTY, JUST A STRIKE no no no .. It was a bloody bloody war against deadly terrorists.

    Now that chapter is over, we need to build the bridge between different ethnicities.

    These western countries are still trying to break the bonds, now we gradually building among us. We see clearly how some people have bribed these Channel 4 people. We know that,this is not the right journalism. And we see it clearly that this is very biased.

    God bless you Noel.

    @Justine – You are talking about others to read the history, it looks like you are even not aware the recent past. It is sad your ignorance of these LTTErs have destroyed nearly all the temples in the north and east, including the statues. I am not going provide facts for your other points as they are like the one I clearly mentioned, factless and useless.

    Roshan

    • Hareesz சொல்கிறார்:

      Dear Noel,
      I am impressed by the article. You have analized the whole issue very well. I do hope & pray that our leaders & above all the people of Srilanka help to make the change. Our future is inextricably linked with Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan people. Violence is not the way out.

  9. DR RAHULA.B.PILAPITIYA சொல்கிறார்:

    DEAR DR NADESAN,
    MY HEARTFELT CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR VALOUR AND OPENHEATEDNESS IN EXPOSING THE ‘TRUTH AND NNOTHING BUT THE TRUTH’TO THE PUBLIC AT LARGE AROUND THE GLOBE.
    I ,AS A KANDYAN SINHALESE WITH TAMIL RELATIVES AND FRIENDS,ARE EXTREMELY CONCERNED AND ABOUT THE WELLBEING OF OUR TAMIL BRETHREN,THE INETRNALLY DISPLACED PEPOLE OF THE NORTH-EAST,WHOM THE LTTE EMPLOYED THEM AS A HUMAN ESCUTCHEON DURING THE LAST STAGES OF THE 30 YEAR OLD ‘WAR’
    I AM A VOLUNTEER AMBASSADOR TO THE CHARITIES ‘THAWALA DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION,AND SUCCESS-COLOMBO IN HELADIVA./SINHALE ,WHO HAD THE RARE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER MY SERVICES AFTER JOINING HANDS WITH THE CHARITIES MENTIONED.wE DID OFFER OUR SERVICES IN ‘THUNUKAI’ IN THE DISTRICT OF KILLINOCHI IN MARCH 2010.
    I WAS DISADVANTAGED AS A MEMBER OF THE TEAM AS I WAS UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE TAMIL BRETHREN DUE TO ABSENCE OF THE ‘LINGUA’,WHICH I AM LEARNING NOW TO RETURN FOR ANOTHER HUMANITARIAN SPELL IN THE BEGINNING OF 2012.I ENCOUNTERED HUGE CHALLENGES IN TREATING TROPICAL AND OTHER COMMON MEDICAL CHALLENGES,IMMENSE PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA AMONG THE TAMIL BRETHREN.THEY NEED A LOT OF HELP AND REASSURANCE.

    ALTHOUGH ,THE SRI LANKAN ( HELADIVA/SINHALE)) GOVERNMENT HAS CONSTRUCTED AND MADE EFFECTIVE PLANS TO FULFILL ‘REHABILITATION,RECONSTRUCTION,RECONCILIATION’, WE, AS RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS SHOULD BE ABLE TO SPEAK ‘TAMIL’ IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL AND BE SUCCESSFUL..I HI!AVE ADDRESSED THIS CHALLENGE TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT.

    WANAKKAM AND NANDRI.
    BEST WISHES AND KIND THOUGHTS.

  10. marcus fernando சொல்கிறார்:

    Congrats Dr,
    I am a Srilankan born to a sinhala and a tamil. You have exposed many information, but I do not know whether you have any proof for the happenings on both sides. Now things have happened and we have to plan the future. If equal opportunities are not given to both communities (including the consideration of merit) then I am sure a nother up-rise could be expected in the years to come. History has shown this to us. The solution is equality among all communities.
    But do you think that our politicians will allow this?,If they are statesmen they will do this. But our leaders are opportunists.
    If all are treated equally, I am sure we can turn out to be a strong nation, with a Srilankan identity.I would suggest you to write to our leaders about the governance of the country.

    • noelnadesan சொல்கிறார்:

      Dear Mr Marcus Fernando
      Thank you for the comments.I am only a trained veterinarian from Peradeniaya University and not trained to be writer or Journalist. Pro-LTTE diaspora pushed me to the corner and I took my writing as dissenting voice. In Sri Lankan politics , I supported MR Mahinda Rajapakse on the last election , appeared on television because there was a clear deference from him and MR Fonseka. MR achievement of eradication LTTE was not a easy one, but now he is facing sixty years of racial and 30 years of terrorist mess. IT is very difficult to be in his shoes because of very destructive TNA , non constructive UNP and Tamil racist diaspora.
      I will give some more time to this man also the rural Sinhala people elected him to be his leader too.
      We are Sri Lankans with three anti -Tamil riot respectively in 58, 77,83, two JVP uprising and LTTE war and this is more than any country of our size to go through . we can not expect Mandela or Gandhi in our land too. Buddha did not born in our country ,come to establish peace in our land.Our history speaks too
      Kind regards
      Noel Nadesan

  11. Konara Wanigasekara சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Dr Noel,
    A short communication is not sufficient to discuss this very important issue. What is important is that the future of SL is inexorably tied to the unity of all its people. The other thing is the myth about this identity, whether Snhala, Tamil, Burger etc. I think the real issue is the politicians of all parties and we public swallow their dead ropes. What has to be done is for the public to unite and fight against the politicians; that there should be the same law to everybody; not one to the politician and one to the poor pubic. Although I am a Sinhalese the last place I will go to is a Police station and that too only if there is no other option. It is the same with courts of law. So if the country is to be developed this corruption, nepotism and favouritism has to be eleminated. Reality is that this is a problem affecting all races and not realising this we go on killing each other and the politician is laughing and watching the fun. We have too good a country and it is quite possible for us to develop it together so that everybody can live peacefully, happily and fulfilling our basic needs required in a modern day society.
    This is it for now but much communication needs to be made on this subject while congratulating Dr Noel for his wisdom & readiness in action.

    • Sena சொல்கிறார்:

      Dear Mr.Konara Wanigasekera, c.c. Dr.Noel Nadesan

      Having read above sentiments of Konara, I cannot help but appreciate and confirm what is said there about few Politicians to-day, who are great pretenders,absolutely unacceptable opportunists. Not all are bad eggs, but a few are spoiling the fame and reputation of truly dedicated politicians. Politics of pre-Independence era and turn of events after full independence with the emergence of pseudo nationalistic sentiments sewn by opportunist politicians, I believe is the cause for most of our ills and disharmony among races. As Konara points out corruption,nepotism, favoritism and above all family enrichments at the expense of citizens/national resources and wealth of the land need to be arrested fast.
      When will we ever come by someone in this land to be like King Asoka or King Dutugamunu??

      Best regards/Sena Fernando.

  12. Ajith Sarathchandra சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Dr.Noel Nadesan,

    You are a true Sri Lankan.

    Ajith Sarathchandra

  13. Dayananda Wijesekara சொல்கிறார்:

    People like you indeed indispensable for the Sri lankan ethnic reconciliation. You have revealed the truth. At least impartial people in the world will see the truth of the real story.

    May I wish you long life (Ayubowan) !

    D. Wijesekara

  14. Romesh சொல்கிறார்:

    I would say that both sides ( LTTE and the successive governments) are responsible for the despicable acts upon innocent lives. Let me also remind all Sinhala and Tamil people that they must not forget the 1983 riots . There are no sides in this. We must all live as Sri Lankans but the culprits who ever they are….. Karuna Amman, KP, Gotabaya Rajapakse, General Sarath Fonseka, Mahinda Rajapakse or who ever must also answer. Unfortunately the LTTE leadership are not there to answer. Its time that justice is done and the country must move without anymore racial, ethinic or religious prejudices.

  15. Romany சொல்கிறார்:

    There were definite atrocities committed by both sides during the final stages of the war no doubt. But you hear of such horrendous stories that make you just wonder if this is a human race living in the 21st century. What made the Tamil people take up this armed struggle???? Istn’t it totally unfair the injustices that the minority race of Sri Lanka had to endure from the 1960’s that was never addressed that caused this rebellion to happen. Is it been addressed even now????? Readers please give some thought to the unchecked blantant robbery from state lands to kick backs, to oil, neoptism, lies, deceit, murder, interference into every strata of governance, election rigging, ,supression of democracy in every form… the list goes on in this country.Never has Sri Lanka sunk to such low depths. Please give some thought to all of this, PLEASE and do something. fast.

  16. Sena சொல்கிறார்:

    Hi Romany! No doubt what you comment on unrest and rebellion that took place in the North & East rests on the politicians from ethnic minority & majority race coming into power in that ear, who neglected very people who voted them into power and overlooked the development and welfare of the masses in North/East areas, while development projects only concentrated into Western and Southern sector. As at today, what you write about kick backs from economic ventures, thuggery at general or provincial elections, mismanagement of State institutions has become the bane of all ills and undue hardships on general public making life miserable to them, due to high costs of living. At the same time the affluent and unscrupulous politicians getting enrich by the day flouting rules, regulations, tender procedures and what not, but sticks by the positions shamefully without gracefully making an exit. When will they ever learn??Who and what force that can ever arrest this misery???

  17. Mahendra Jayatilaka சொல்கிறார்:

    Opening of old wounds is not the requirement of this hour. The most burning issue today is reconciliation and a positive forward approach in rebuilding our society. People of the calibre of Dr. Noel Nadesan can help catalyse this issue. Also may I remind all civic minded Sri Lankans the world over of the gigantic efforts being made at grass root level of our society in restoring this vital ingredient in the making of this wonderful cake of ethnic harmony. For those who are not so positive I ask you please to get off your haunches and join many of us who are fully committed in meeting this massive challenge. For instance right at this very moment a fantastic effort by members of all communities in Sri Lanka is in progress to help build a modern paediatric cancer hospital for the little ones in Jaffna. I feel it is small gestures such as these that help restore the trust and confidence of our inter racial relationships. Volunteers are walking from Dondra to Point Pedro in anticipation of collecting funds for this worthy project. This is what we aspirants of ethnic harmony should focus on and not harp on bygones. Wrong doers will face their Waterloo in due course and the arm of justice will take care of this. In the meantime good Samaritans such as “Doc” with their wise counselling should take a lead role.
    Finally, irrespective of race cast or creed if an individual’s aspirations and objectives are common who are we to stand in his/her way? May all beings live in harmony and peace. And dear “Doc” may your kind prosper and multiply.
    Mahendra Jayatilaka

  18. Panduka Dasanayake சொல்கிறார்:

    Thank you, thank you and thank you, Dr Nadesan. ‘The truth shall prevail,’ even after these long years since 1815, or 1931, or 1948, 0r 1956, 06 1972, or 1978, 0r 1983, or 2006, or whereevr one seeks to start analysing this issue. The truth is as you have stated, that the sooner all communities living in Lanka realise that they have much to achieve through cooperation, collaboration, and compassion, rather than let divisive forces dictate illwill to their good minds and actions, this land will be truly blessed as an icon of religious and cultural harmony and co-existence. Long live these noble thoughts.

    It may be apposite to recall the ideal words of the poet missionary who came to so love the lankan people and isle [Rev Walter Senior, c.1910 or so] in ‘The Call of Lanka:’

    “… In the brave new days that come,
    When the races all have blended
    And the voice of strife is dumb;
    When we leap to a single bugle,
    March to a single drum.”
    – W S Senior The Call of Lanka, verse 8

    Thank you Dr Nadesan.
    May all be safe, well, peaceful and content…

  19. Ravin Chitty சொல்கிறார்:

    In your opinion is the time ripe to build on common values and shared interests or will hidden bitterness and resentment surface again and reach unbearable proportions. My take has always been that economic emancipation will free us from destroying ourselves but with political awareness, that framework is equally important. Also, so is Spiritual growth in achieving holism and social humaneness. What’s your opinion going forward……….

  20. Sena சொல்கிறார்:

    Hi Ranjith Rathnayaka,
    Your comments and advice in your final para to take a cue from Dr.Noel’s write up is absolutely true and appropriate at this moment. But would Tamils & Sinhala people together who vote and elect politicians of their chose ever open their eyes to burning issues in building harmony among the different ethnic groups. Having elected to Governing bodies would they ever heed to advice of voters who gave them power? If you attempt to tell them ‘where to get off’, you are a asking for a catastrophic ending for yourself. Let the eminent persons in the Society through non-political organizations,civil societies organize lectures, meetings to inculcate the importance of building a united Sri Lanka. It’s heartening to read many contributions on the subject thus so far posted here. Many thanks to all/Sena,F.

  21. Raj Sivananthan சொல்கிறார்:

    Dr. Nadesan,

    Thank you for the courageous expose! What you have written is what many of us Tamils have known to be true for a very long time, and yet were cautioned not to mention for fear of severe retribution by the LTTE and even the Diaspora! So, many like me, remained silent and suffered the indignity of fear and helplessness.

    There is no way forward for Sri Lanka except as a land for all its people. Not just as a land for Tamils and Sinhalese, but also for Burgers, Muslims and even the tiniest minorities who have called our lovely island their home. Before the colonial powers came to our land and imposed the rule of “might,” our ancient history reminds us that we were ruled by wise kings and queens who respected all the races and treated them with equal benevolence and justice. Sadly, “divide and rule” became the norm for 500 years thereafter, because a united Lanka would have been too strong a force to subjugate for the colonial masters. Since 1948 we have paid the price for that unfortunate period in our history.

    While I do not profess that nothing excellent or worthwhile came from the colonial period, there is no doubt that the seeds of divisiveness, jealousy and partisanship were sown in that era as minorities, in particular the educated Tamils, were favored for advancement by the Colonial masters to keep the Sinhalese masses “at bay.” The cause of our miserable history of encouraging retaliation against minorities by unscrupulous politicians, which resulted in the riots of of the 50’s, 70’s and 80’s, can be traced back to this era, when the majority masses were virtually disenfranchised and made to “watch” the favoritism conferred upon the minority races by the Colonial masters. This alas is our sad history, and I suspect Walter Senior knew it all too well. Hence the articulation of his dream for Lanka: “let’s march to a mighty purpose, one man from shore to shore; when the stranger become a brother – the task of the tutor o’er..”

    May mother Lanka have a chance at last to heal, without foreign irritation of her myriad wounds, and free from the callous, biased and intentionally disruptive journalism of the West, as exemplified by the Channel 4 story. Ironically, it appears that the same foreign powers that wreaked havoc on our island nation’s social fabric for 500 years, wish to break us again with this new brand of colonialism that would give them a stranglehold over our country by siding with the Diaspora and reaping the political and monetary rewards of the Diaspora’s support. All this done, thinly disguised as “concern for the down trodden Tamils.”

    Proudly, I am a Sri Lankan Tamil, and I too stand with President Rajapakse and the Government of Sri Lanka. Let us seek the same unity and healing for our people that our president seeks, and let us stand up to the West with courage when they interfere in the affairs of our nation. Mahathma Gandhi was right. In the end, only we [ Sri Lankans ] have the right to determine our own destiny. We must do so now, not as Tamils and as Sinhalese, as Muslims and as Burgers; but rather, as brothers and sisters born of one womb, that of Mother Lanka!

    With much love for our long suffering countrymen,
    Prithviraj (Raj) S. Sivananthan – Attorney at Law.

  22. Dr. Charitha Seneviratne, PhD சொல்கிறார்:

    Dr. Nadesan,
    I am eternally grateful to my good buddy Raj above for sending your excellent and very timely article on Sri Lanka. I agree with most of the commentators here and especially with my friend Mr. Prithviraj (Raj) Sivanathan who speaks and writes so eloquently…. I have also lived , studied, and worked in the west (Canada) for 20 plus years, and I have served my motherland- Sri Lanka after my PhD as a Scientist in a Faculty of Medicine teaching/researching Biochemistry with students from all ethnic backgrounds for over 6 years and seen first had how things can work when we are all united as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers etc. If we can (and I am for one extremely optimistic looking at the history both in Sri Lankan and world), agree on the things we all desire as humans race in one tiny corner of the world we will do extremely well and we will be another Singapore/Switzerland in no time….actually with the rich traditions we have, may it be Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity; if we follow just the A, B and C of any of these traditions we will be paradise on earth and all from all corners of the world will come again to settle as in the past and call it theire home! As a geneticist, this mixture of races/ethnic groups etc. is the best thing that can happen to rejuvenate the ‘gene pool” and culturally, more diverse you are and more tolerant you are such societies will progress beyond measure. I am truly grateful for giant personalities like you- Dr. Nadesan who stands up and be counted for the rest of the silent majority so that we all can do great things by our beloved motherland to ensure for generations to come will enjoy the benefits of peace, harmony and economic progress. As mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. Let the strong forgive and forget and march forward. As food for thought, Diaspora in Canada, suppose to have remitted over $300 million per year for the war effort. if 1% ($3 million) can be put to good use in the North and the East for humanitarian causes as Dr. Nadesan and others are doing, what good will come from it! And all the money that is expended for PR to gain the political advantage again put to good use, to help in real terms, the people of the North/East, the poor, the sick and the weak, just imagine…….

    Charitha Seneviratne, PhD- Research Scientist

  23. Pingback: Outcomes from my Think-Piece … and Thoughts on Pictorial Imagery | Thuppahi's Blog

  24. marksouza சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Dr Nadesan, it takes a brave man to say what you have said. As a Sinhalese I get defensive about the government and the defence forces whenever this topic comes up with a Tamil friend or a non-Sri Lankan. While it would be easy to just say ‘both sides did wrong’, the truth is more complicated. However when I read your posts I think there really is hope that one day all Sri Lankans will be able to move forward without looking back and blaming each other. If an apology about Tamil civilian deaths is what it takes, so be it, I hope it is forthcoming.

  25. sean சொல்கிறார்:

    Dude where are you getting this information.
    Do you want me to trust your biased opinion or a trust worlwide channel 4 news braoadcast that had all the material verfied by independent sources. I suggest an educated man will proabably believe in channel 4. You can write a blog accusing LTTE of stuff and yet I agree they did. The point of this report was to show the world what is happening in sri lanka for the past 3 decades. In the last three decades has the international community know what is going on in Sri lanka.

    • noelnadesan சொல்கிறார்:

      My article say where did I get information.Please read agiin but It is up you to you to trust or not trust. we did have war in Sri Lanka and both sides committed many crimes.It is convenient to blame one side but that will not solve the main problem. My interest is reconciliation races in my home country but your are like many Tamil expatriates looking for revenge.
      We are in two different directions

  26. Sivan சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Noel,

    As you definitely appear not to be aware, investigative journalism is about exposing the ‘Truth’, no matter how difficult to swallow.
    Channel 4’s photos and videos have been authenticated as genuine by none other than the UN, an organisation of which Sri Lanka is a member.
    Your blog certainly stinks of a biased commentary without any evidence.
    True, military operations are not carried out in sandals, flip flops, etc. But ‘Military Intelligence’ definitely can be.
    Also do not forget there were other men and women as yourself who’ll sell their friends out to anyone who pays the right price.
    Finally the so called Brutality of The LTTE got it the label of a terrorist outfit. Please let me know when we should include Sri Lanka in ‘The Axis of Evil’ for conducting exactly the same kind of Brutality as the LTTE?

    • noelnadesan சொல்கிறார்:

      Chanel Channel 4 was actually compiling video clips from LTTE and some Army men. It was not investigative journalism. I am not disputing the shots . my disagreement with interpretation.
      1)Civilian deaths were exaggerated.
      2)Most of deaths were caused by LTTE recklessness by herding people to war front.
      3)25% people killed by LTTE
      4) I knew government tried to avoid civilian causalities as much as they can.
      5) many thousands injured people were evacuated by ships to Trincomallee.
      6) surrendering civilians were done smoothly until LTTE used civilian suicide bomber and Brigadier who was in charge for the process demoted then things got difficult.
      AS you agree,I would be happy with clean surgical removal of Terrorists but that is not reality.Same thing happen in any war and history proved again again.

  27. Sivan சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Noel,

    1) When you say civilian deaths were exaggerated, why is it the SL govt. refuse entry to an International Organisation eg- UN. Remembering it is a member.

    2) Though the LTTE recklessly herded people to the frontline, you agree that this caused only 25% of the deaths. Who caused the other 75%?

    3) It will be great to provide evidence for comments 4 – 6.

    I agree all ‘Wars’ have ‘Civilian Casualties’
    This is one of the invading or attacking army’s aim. Please refer to the ‘Bombing of Dresden’ in WW2.
    Please note all Superpowers have Nuclear Weapons- aim to ‘pulverise the cities and covilians of the enemy’.

    But also note how the British handled the IRA, a terror outfit within UK borders. Was a single Harrier, Tornado etc used? (Compare with the Falklands).

    The SL govt. treated and continues to treat the Tamils as a Foreign Enemy, hence it’s reckless use of heavy fire power.

    Therefore I really do not see how the so called reconciliators want the Tamils to ‘forget’ and accept peace. At what price? What’s the price of ‘Freedom’? (please note- I’m Not stating Eelam).
    Thanks

    • Jehan சொல்கிறார்:

      Some thing not said is “A man who kill others could and would kill own one one day”. That was proven with Tigers. Who is going to save the poor sinhalese from the current ruler? Tamils may be ?

      • Sivan சொல்கிறார்:

        Jehan
        Various ‘Revolutions’ have proven this fact.
        The Russian Revolution against the Czars.
        The Iranian Revolution
        Various revolutions in Central America, leaving one despot after another.
        Why is it with all these examples (and otherwise without), do you Singhalese think that the SL despot could be any different.
        (Your question sounds sarcastic), but assuming it is not – how do you suppose 7 million people (minus the 100,000 killed, 700,000 maimed, and 200,000 in concentration camps) save 15 million people?

        Re-read your own comment and that of ‘the singhalese’. You and they have acknowledged that Tamils ARE a different People and Nation from the singhalese.

        The singhalese feel protective of ‘their army’, ‘their president’ etc. against the Tamils demand for ‘justice’.
        And Noel feels we are the trouble makers.

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  29. romeshsenewiratne சொல்கிறார்:

    A good article with admirable sentiments.

  30. romeshsenewiratne சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Dr Noel Nadesan,

    Thank you for your valuable work. I became aware of your work and perceptive, courageous writings through the unusual route of investigating the fact that my father, Brian Senewiratne, described you as “a traitor” in a bizarre article titled “Tamil Traitors Muralitharan and Noel Nadesan are being used” that was published in a website of something called “Global Peace Support” in July 2011 (which reeks of being an LTTE-front).

    Reading your blog, and hearing a radio interview you gave to SBS radio, I can only conclude that you are the opposite of a “traitor”. You are a truly courageous champion of truth and a genuine hero of the Tamil people (and of humanity). I am sorry that my father has defamed you, and wish to extend my friendship and admiration towards you.

    • noelnadesan சொல்கிறார்:

      Dear Rumesh
      Thank you for the kind words. I took stand against LTTE after Massacre of innocent people at Anurathapura 1986 that is long time ago before coming to Australia but always keen to review my stand on LTTE as a terrorist organisation but never had the opportunity. but I was planning to live quietly in Australia but LTTE leaders in Australia pushed me to the wall so I became their vocal opponent.

      I always had and still respect for your farther for speaking his mind and, for Tamils but slipped into supporting LTTE instead of Tamils.

      We all have to work for reconciliation our people in Sri Lanka.
      Regards
      Nadesan,Noel

  31. Daniel சொல்கிறார்:

    Dear Dr.Nadesan,
    Do you honestly – as a veterinarian – beleive that abortions can be caused by pregnant females jumping from trees?

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