Sri Lanka: What are the names of the ‘40,000 dead’ – Where did they live and where are their relatives?
– by Shenali D Waduge –
There appears to be a scramble among LTTE supporters to compete with each other as to whose guesstimates can embarrass the Sri Lankan Government and its Armed Forces. What is preposterous is that the sources for these guesstimates come from LTTE sources. Leaving aside the exaggerations behind these claims what must not escape anyone’s attention are a few simple questions
a) Where are the 40,000 or even 125,000 bodies of the supposed dead?
b) What are their names – the dead must surely have names and those claiming anyone is dead must surely know who the dead person is
c) where did these dead live – give a list of addresses and
d) who are the relatives of the dead and on what grounds can they claim it was the Armed Forces who killed them – this again brings us back to the question, where are the dead bodies, at least the skeletons and how did the army manage to bury so many dead bodies without a single video footage landing in the hands of Channel 4 who are making merry and getting international notoriety by repeatedly concocting tales on the instructions of those funding them and winning awards from agencies that were pals of the LTTE too.
So we have a nice web of international players all ganging up against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka should categorically say that the country will not waste time energy and money because a handful are paid to drop numbers of death figures without an iota of credible evidence. Therefore, produce the names of the dead – 40,000 or 125,000 even if its 300,000 it does not matter. Their names– their addresses must be produced.
The guestimate competition started with the appointment of the Darusman Panel. This Panel was appointed by the UN Secretary General in his capacity as UN Secretary General to appraise him of the final stages of the war. Note ‘appraise him’ thus the Panel, its investigation, its findings or even its conclusions were not mandated by the UN General Assembly or its Members. That is why the report was titled THE REPORT OF THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL’S PANEL OF EXPERTS. Thus, the Report should not have been allowed to gain international acceptance in the light of being the ONLY such personal appointment when there are scores of conflicts older than Sri Lanka’s which ideally should call for similar Expert Panels to be appointed.
Excuse us for asking but what were these international figures and UN Secretary General’s including Ban Ki Moon doing for 30 odd years watching LTTE blast people to bits, kill pregnant women, babies and learned people and no sooner the LTTE is vanquished they are quick to come out demanding accountability, transparency, holding Geneva Rights all leading to demand why the LTTE were killed? What kind of hypocrisy are we witnessing?
When Supramaniam Swamy says it is ridiculous for the Tamils to demand the release of the LTTE accused for killing Rajiv Gandhi simply because they are Tamils and the arrest hurts the sentiments of the Tamils. This needs to be reminded at this stage to all the international and local supporters of the LTTE. As Subramanium Swamy says the LTTE were killers and they deserve just punishment. If this is the rationale for Rajiv Gandhi and this should not change for ordinary civilians that the LTTE killed? Moreover, the East was liberated far before the North – why did these same organizations not place the same attention to the East as they are doing to the North?
Raising our eyebrows further is the fact that the Darusman Panel gives LTTE a certificate of approval as a ‘disciplined group’ and simply copies what we know of the LTTE – ‘known for its forced recruitment and use of child soldiers, including boys and girls’ while claiming to have ‘credible evidence’ of ‘credible allegations’ in the final report against the armed forces. What the sources are for the ‘credible evidence’, how the evidence was examined, why allegations were accepted or rejected, how the credibility of eyewitnesses were qualified and other criteria was never disclosed which dampens the credibility of the Panel findings especially when it quotes Tamilnet the propaganda machinery of the LTTE. This is why Yasushi Akashi, Senior Adviser on Foreign Policy in Japan said ‘the Darusman Report though intended only to be an advisory report to the Secretary General of the UN is IMPROPER’.
Be that as it may the 3 member panel quoted 40,000 dead in its 2011 report.
Thereafter Robert Blake, former US Ambassador started quoting 40,000 dead and used this figure at the US Congressional Hearing too.
Then the figures became a sport and LTTE supporter Siobhain McDonagh (Labor MP for Mitcham and Morden) declared 100,000 people had died and 40,000 of them were civilians. She must have counted the dead!
Amnesty International in a special report titled ‘When will they get justice? Failures of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ published in 2011 quoted 10,000 civilian deaths.
Gordon Weiss former UN official initially quoted 7000 dead. Then the entrepreneur in him took over and to boost his book sales, the figure changed to 40,000 which he changed to 10,000 at his book launch and disowned responsibility for the change of numbers attributing it to the printers! Thereafter plenty of other ‘authors’ gained fame for joining in the bandwagon quoting death figures and they have amassed plenty of wealth by doing so. It has become a lucrative venture now to quote numbers of dead in Sri Lanka.
The number of dead quoted by the UN country team in Sri Lanka was 7721 people. The UN Expert Panel however says that these figures are too low to accept. Does this next imply that bizarre guestimates is the way to go?
The comprehensive survey by the Government in the Northern region at the conclusion of the conflict placed the number of dead and missing during the final phase at 7400 dead and 2600 missing. The 7400 dead included LTTE fighters killed in combat. Of the 2600 missing, 1600 had been with the LTTE whereas only 438 had disappeared in areas under military control.
Then there is the satellite analysis report on the graveyards in Mullaitivu by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They identified 3 graveyards which had expanded to a highest number of 1346 and one of the graveyards belonged to the LTTE showing 960 burials. Why did satellites not detect 125,000 dead bodies or even 40,000?
To have dead bodies there must be HUMANS. In July 2011 Tamil Officers (mostly teachers of the North) did a population survey of the North covering migration, deaths, untraceable persons from 2005 to 2009. These officers declare 7896 as dead including LTTE terrorists while the number of natural deaths due to old age and sickness was 1102.
Then came the Charles Petrie review of the UNSG’s report which came up with another fantastical figure – 70,000 completely ignoring the deaths reported by the UN Representatives office in Colombo as 7721. Let us also remind readers that even Tamilnet the LTTE propaganda wing reported a total of 7398 deaths. So for what reason or for whose agenda is these numbers being quoted without names, addresses or details.
When the LTTE ran its defacto rule, they had their own courts, own judges own LTTE legal doctrines – therefore it is not difficult to gage what happened to anyone standing on the LTTE dock before an LTTE judge in an LTTE court. The nonsense of treating terrorists on the same platform as democratically elected governments is a tragi-comic exercise by multicultural liberalists who have nothing better to do than turn accepted norms into bizarre secular theories.
How can a group of people who rule ONLY because they hold gun in one hand and bombs in the other have any credibility over governments that are elected by millions of people voting for them? If Governments are to be accused by LTTE terrorist sources and their stooges then voters are equally guilty and if voters are to be placed on the dock simply because LTTE sources say so then we would like to add that no one asked the LTTE to take up arms, no one forced them to kill or to adopt the murderous path of suicide terrorism and to plan and execute people. If the LTTE did so and thousands of innocent people became targets of their heinous agenda of crime and terror – it is the justice for them that should be taken up first. Whoever has heard of terrorists being given justice totally ignoring the deaths of innocent victims they snuffed out?
The Armed Forces have been too good to these murderers. Let it not be forgotten that TWICE the President of Sri Lanka appealed to the LTTE to give up their arms and surrender. The LTTE response was that they would fight to the last man and when the LTTE makes such a decision no one has any right to be pointing fingers. The LTTE threw a challenge, the LTTE was given umpteen chances to mend their ways. That they did not is no fault of the Sri Lankan Government or the Armed Forces. A Just War concluded in May 2009. If Tamil civilians and entire villages were taken by the LTTE for whatever reasons best known to them it is the LTTE that must be blamed for compromising their own people. The legality of combatants and non-combatants clearly denies any civilian the protection of a non-combatant if they had been taking part in hostilities. Hard as it is to accept this fact – it is a fact that is legally enshrined. The LTTE itself declared the civilians were helping them – if so they lose their civilian status. We continue to question how many of these ‘civilians’ were realistically ‘civilians’ But we are giving them the benefit of the doubt because if they had been digging trenches for the LTTE then it makes them no less guilty than the LTTE. If civilians were subject to the definition of a combatant – it is the LTTE that has to be blamed not the armed forces.
In wars there are collateral damage and no terrorist will handle with care any non-LTTE (be in military personnel or Sinhalese/Muslim) alive in their possession. The language the LTTE knew was to only kill and it is the language they only understand. So they must be treated in the language they comprehend for they have never shown mercy to others and we have lists of even Tamils who have been gunned down and killed.
Yet, 300,000 Tamils were saved and brought to safety and nothing happened to 11,000 LTTE fighters – most of them are now rehabilitated and reintegrated into society – that speaks volumes.
If this ritual of screening a paid documentary sponsored by sources that are kept in the dark before foreign parliaments and even UN, gives the nod of acceptability why do we need to appoint learned people for roles and have local or international courts with internationally accepted benchmarks for judgements? Moreover, we knew Channel 4 would reveal a documentary close to CHOGM with Terrorist TV anchor Issipriya becoming the focus of the latest release. If we are to accept for argument sake that this is an authentic clipping we would next like to have answered why Channel 4, its director and the sponsors of the documentary kept this video for 3 years without releasing it if justice and not commercial and political mileage was being sought? Why did they keep this to use only on occasions specifically targeting the Government of Sri Lanka?
Is this not why the Channel 4 documentaries are being screened across the world, its director sheds crocodile tears and the whole gang are invited for roundtable talks by Human Rights Organizations that invites ONLY LTTE apologists as panel members?
What needs to be categorically said is that to have dead bodies – there must first be people. For there to be people they must have names, therefore anyone making allegations must first come with a list of 120,000 names or even 40,000 names and not simply throw numbers into the air.
Next is a Government elected by people is not answerable to a private channel that produces documentaries on sponsorships and funds. No Government or even citizens of Sri Lanka need to respond to any allegations that a private channel like the Channel 4 makes.
If we are talking about victims – victims starts from the very first person LTTE gunned and it is from the beginning that investigations should start not why the LTTE was killed because the LTTE chose death and it was the LTTE that opted to kill and no one else. That needs to be very clearly understood. LTTE took to guns, LTTE killed scores of people mostly civilians including Tamils and it is these crimes that were never taken up by the very parties that are now suddenly producing the red card. Why did they sit silent watching innocent Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims be killed by the LTTE over 3 decades and why are they now coming to action after the LTTE defeat is a question these international protagonists now need to answer.
It is time these LTTE apologists started to answer some questions first.
Whatever anyone says it was our BRAVE SOLDIERS who LIBERATED the Tamil people from the LTTE. It was Sri Lanka that suffered 30 years of TERRORISM, it was TERRORISTS who were defeated in May 2009 (not Tamils).
Therefore on what grounds have we accepted the notion of reconciliation? Why do we need reconciliation when we fought a war with Terrorists and Terrorists are no lambs. They have no qualms about taking lives of others – who says Terrorists need to be given preferential treatment?