– by Shenali D Waduge –
David Cameron has asked Sri Lanka’s President to act like Winston Churchill. That really isn’t the best of examples to give because in looking up Winston Churchill his policies is nothing that Sri Lanka or any of its leaders adopted or would care to adopt just because Churchill said ‘victory in magnanimity’ – he said a lot more horrible things too. Even Germany called Churchill a war criminal. Next, David Cameron wants us to draw parallels with Northern Ireland. That too is not a good idea either. Lastly, David Cameron again uses an often flogged word – ‘reconciliation’. We need to again remind UK that Sri Lanka defeated Terrorists, and we do not need to reconcile with terrorists.
Cameron says be like Churchill. So we found out what Churchill’s record has been though much of these details are often hidden even from his biographies. Naturally, not many in the West in particular the UK would like to be told exactly what their hero did to the ‘animals’ that they colonized. Since these ‘animals’ are now hosting Britain as head of the Commonwealth we would like to place some of these facts before readers.
Churchill’s atrocities in India
- In WW2 Churchill deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death – Sri Lankan Government continued to send food and essentials to the North even while it was under LTTE rule. Sri Lanka Government took loans that are being paid by the taxpayers to feed, look after and resettle all Tamils that had been displaced by the LTTE and not the Sri Lankan Government or the Army.
- British Indian Holocaust (1.8 billion excess deaths, 1757-1947; 10 million killed in post-1857 Indian Mutiny reprisals; 1 million starved, 1895-1897 Indian Famine; 6-9 million starved, 1899-1900 Indian Famine; 6-7 million starved under Churchill, Bengali Holocaust 1943-1945
- Churchill acknowledged the crucial importance of maintaining Hindu-Muslim antipathy to preserve British rule [1 million dead and 18 million Muslim and Hindu refugees associated with India-Pakistan Partition in 1947].
Churchill’s atrocities in Germany
WHAT NEEDS TO BE ALSO SAID THAT IT WAS CHURCHILLS IDEA TO BOMB CIVILIAN TARGETS FROM THE OUTSET OF WAR AND NOT HITLERS. Winston Churchill was effectively a war criminal who sanctioned the extermination of Germany’s civilian population through indiscriminate bombing of towns and cities.
The British, led by Sir Arthur Harris, C-in-C Bomber Command, were the leading proponents of “night area bombing”, involving the systematic destruction of German industrial capacity and housing. The policy resulted in the laying to waste of city after city, including Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden, and the deaths of some 635,000 Germans.
In a secret wartime memorandum, Winston Churchill told his advisers that he wanted to “drench” Germany with poison gas. Churchill’s July 1944 memo to his chief of staff Gen. Hastings Ismay was reproduced in the August-September 1985 issue of American Heritage magazine.
“I want you to think very seriously over this question of poison gas,” the four-page note began. Britain’s wartime leader continued: “It is absurd to consider morality on this topic when everybody used it [gas] in the last war without a word of complaint from the moralists or the Church. On the other hand, in the last war the bombing of open cities was regarded as forbidden. Now everybody does it as a matter of course. It is simply a question of fashion changing as she does between long and short skirts for women.”
Churchill’s directive bluntly stated: “I want a cold-blooded calculation made as to how it would pay to use poison gas … One really must not be bound within silly conventions of the mind whether they be those that ruled in the last war or those in reverse which rule in this.” Specifically he proposed: “We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention … It may be several weeks or even months before I shall ask you to drench Germany with poison gas, and if we do it, let us do it one hundred per cent. In the meantime, I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by the particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across now here now here now there.”
Churchill atrocities elsewhere
- Sudan atrocities [horrendous British atrocities after the Battle of Obdurman 1898].
- Boer (Afrikaaner) Genocide [28,000 Afrikaaner women and children died in British concentration camps, 1899-1902] – Concept of concentration camps began with the British and not Hitler.
- 1944 UK War Cabinet decision Partition of Palestine [in 1878, Jews were 5% of the Palestine population; in 1948 Jews were 1/3 of the population; there are now over 7 million Palestinian refugees; post-1967 Occupied Palestinian excess deaths 0.3 million, post-1967 under-5 infant deaths 0.2 million; excess deaths in countries partially or completely occupied by Apartheid Israel now total about 24 million; 4 million Occupied Palestinians are still illegally and abusively imprisoned by racist Zionists in their own country].
- UK rejection of 1944 Brand plan to save Hungarian Jews [0.2-0.4 million killed by Nazis and Arrow Cross fascists out of 0.7 million; Zionists also opposed the Brand plan]
- British, American, Zionist, Australian and European adoption of Churchill’s holocaust commission and holocaust denying legacy, with post-war atrocities involving invasion, occupation, devastation and genocide [in relation to Occupiers (in parenthesis) 1950-2005 excess deaths in post-1945 occupied countries total 2 million (white Australia), 36 million (Belgium), 142 million (France), 24 million (Apartheid Israel), 0.7 million (Apartheid South Africa), 23 million (Portugal), 37 million (Russia), 9 million (Spain), 727 million (the UK) and 82 million (the US); 25 million Indigenous excess deaths in post-1950 US Asian Wars; 9-11 million excess deaths associated with 1990-2008 Bush Wars; post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq 2 million, refugees 6 million; post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Afghanistan 4-6 million, refugees 4 million].
Churchills atrocities in World War 1
- World War I – Allied military and civilian dead 5.7 million and 3.7 million, respectively; German-allied (Central Powers) military and civilian deaths 4.0 million and 5.2 million; troop movement-exacerbated Spanish Flu Epidemic killed 20-100 million people world wide. 1918-1922].
- WW1 Dardanelles Campaign in Turkey [0.2 million Allied and Turkish soldiers killed, 1915; precipitated 1915-1923 Turkish Armenian Genocide, 1.5 million Armenians killed].
- UK and US invasion of Russia 1917-1919 [millions died in the Russian Civil War and the subsequent Russian Famine; 7 million died in the circa 1930 Ukrainian Famine; and perhaps up to 20 million died overall in Stalinist atrocities].
- British suppression of the Arab revolt in Iraq (invaded by Britain in 1914) [bombing of Kurds, poison gas use (1920s); violent UK involvement on and off , 1914-2009; 1990-2008 Iraqi excess deaths 4 million; under-5 infant deaths 1.8 million; refugees currently 6 million].
- Support for British Occupation and opposition to Indian self-determination [1757-1947 excess deaths, 1.8 billion; 1895-1897 famine deaths1 million; 1899-1900 Indian Famine, deaths6-9 million deaths; 1943-1945 Bengali Holocaust deaths 6-7 million].
Churchill’s atrocities in World War 2
- World War 2 promotion [World War 2 military deaths 25 million and civilian deaths about 67 million].
- Promotion of Japan entry into World War 2 in order to involve the US and hence ensure victory [35 million Chinese avoidable deaths, 1937-1945; 6-7 million Indians starved, Bengal 1943-1945; millions more died in the WW2 Eastern Theatre].
- Churchill knew Singapore was indefensible [8,000-15,000 killed, 130,000 captured in the 1941 Malaya campaign; 14,000 Australian, 16,000 British and 32,000 Indian troops surrendered in Singapore].
- Churchill deliberately did not warn Americans about Pearl Harbor attack [Eastern Theatre WW2 deaths 45 million].
- WW2 Bengal Holocaust, Bengal Famine [deliberate starving to death of of 6-7 million Indians; confessed by Churchill in a letter to Roosevelt].
- Churchill rejected top scientific advice and supported bombing of German cities instead of protecting Atlantic convoys [0.16 million allied airmen killed; 0.6 million German civilians killed; Battle of the Atlantic almost lost; 7 million dead from famine in the Indian Ocean region related to halving of Allied shipping in 1943].
To paraphrase mathematician satirist Tom Lehrer’s song “The Elements”, “These are the only Churchill crimes currently known to Harvard/But there may be many others that haven’t been discovered”.
The UK does not wish to acknowledge Churchill’s crimes which is why in the biography of Winston Churchill by Prof. Sir Martin Gilbert there is no mention of the 1943-45 Bengali Holocaust. General Wavell’s diaries repeatedly makes it clear that Churchill hated the Indians and refused assistance for the Bengal Famine. (the Viceroy’s Journal).
Churchill said that Indians ‘breed like rabbits’ and policy of starvation was the answer. An account of this is given in History of Britain by Simon Schama though he too omits mention of the Bengal Famine. Colin Mason said ‘the famine, little publicized at the time because of war-time censorship, and inexplicably, still ignored by many modern histories of India and most standard reference works…’ (A short history of Asia).
If it is a crime to deny or minimize the Jewish Holocaust where in some countries like Austria one can face upto 10 years in prison for doing so all of the colonial crimes purposely premeditated and calculated must receive equal punishment.
Indians may well like to remember that the British throughout its 200 year rule of India killed 1.8BILLION INDIANS. Only a handful of historians have been bold enough to make these facts known.
From the mouth of Winston Churchill
- “Perhaps the next time round the way to do it will be to kill women, children and the civilian population.”
This is why we think Cameron either does not know what Churchill did or pretends not to know and having read these accounts Sri Lanka should not act like Churchill for even Germans think him a war criminal.
Next are parallels with Ireland.
Religion played a key role in Ireland’s problem (Protestants vs Catholics). There was no such religious issue in Sri Lanka. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish Catholics had been prohibited by the penal laws from owning land, from leasing land; from voting, from holding political office; from living in a corporate town or within 5 mi (8.0 km) of a corporate town, from obtaining education, from entering a profession, and from doing many other things necessary for a person to succeed and prosper in Irish society at the time – there was never such restrictions in Sri Lanka.
In fact it is the Sinhalese who cannot buy land in the North and now the Chief Minister who had been living virtually all his life in Colombo and is now in the North is asking the Sinhalese to evict no different to what the LTTE did with gun. No different to the Bengal Famine policy in India, the British adopted the same to Ireland during the years 1845 and 1850. This policy by the British Government was one of mass starvation and is known as the Great Famine / Potato Famine. The goal was to subdue the Irish to British will. Over a million Irish died in the famine. Out of a population of 8million before the famine, 1.5million emigrated many boarding ships that were unsafe and many died en route to America and Canada. It is estimated that at least 100,000 died. The famine left a legacy of emigration that continues where as many as 70million worldwide trace their origins to Irish descent but this emigration was far different to the human smuggling racket taking place where Tamils prefer not to go to Tamil Nadu where the politicians are wailing on behalf of them but take boats to Western nations of Australia, Europe and Canada which is why they are now being referred to as ‘economic refugees’. Tony Blair apologized for Britain’s negligence primarily because he wanted to push peace talks between the Catholics and Protestants. There was never rivalry between the Buddhists or Hindus in Sri Lanka. In fact both are today victims of Abrahamic religious conversions.
Cameron may have seen parallels in the fact that because a handful of Tamil politicians claim to espouse for a separate Tamil Homeland with the fact that Ireland ran its own parliament before the Act of Union was passed in 1801 and Ireland became integrated with UK. There was never historically a separately run independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka to think of drawing parallels. In Ireland what happened after the Union was that ministers and administers were all in England and ruling from there. Funnily enough all the TNA politicians even throughout LTTE rule were living in Colombo and outskirts and then crying on behalf of the Tamils from Colombo and many of them still continue to do so.
Since Mr. Cameron has brought up parallels with Ireland. He may remember the Bloody Sunday massacre for he and others love to use the word ‘accountability’. Sadly, Cameron and Britain think that accountability is only meant for Third World nations for a massacre that took place in 1972 which underwent 2 British inquiries took 38 years to reveal that it was the British troops who were wrong and not the other way round. The inquiry appointed in 1998 took 12 years to conclude this injustice.
Finally, we come to the favored word of RECONCILIATION parroted by one and all without looking at the ground realities. What needs to be clearly reiterated to all including the Government of Sri Lanka is that Sri Lanka suffered 30 years of Terrorism, 32 countries had banned LTTE terrorists, LTTE terrorists took the lives of Sinhalese, Muslims and even Tamils (virtually wiping out all learned Tamils from society leaving the handful of those that speak on behalf of the LTTE because of their connections with the LTTE). Thus, Sri Lanka’s Armed forces ended TERROR in May 2009 and Sri Lanka did not fight against Tamils but Terrorists. People seem to get mixed up with the ‘T’ factor. We ended Terror not Tamils, we defeated Terrorists not Tamils. So on what grounds do we reconcile with Terrorists.
We next come to the contentious question of Tamil Homeland. It is no better time than now for the Government to not simply say that they will not allow the country to be divided but to clear put the picture that Eelam if at all for Tamils is nowhere else but in Tamil Nadu it is from where the Sri Lankan Tamils came. We next come to another confusing element of grievances vs aspirations. People can have aspirations but no government can give all that people aspire. However, where grievances are concerned the Tamils need to put down where legally, constitutionally and legislatively Tamils are exclusively denied rights and freedoms which ONLY Sinhalese enjoy. Tamil is used on par with Sinhalese in nameboards, currency, state documents, forms, events are jointly done by both Sinhalese and Tamil presenters, tv programs also are done jointly – the list is a long one. In a very unusual method instead of minorities having to learn the majority Sinhalese language the majority has to now learn Tamil. Rightfully, it is the minorities that should be learning Sinhalese given that 7 out of 10 people are Sinhalese. When Sinhalese are told they cannot live or own property in the North and even after the defeat of the LTTE are now being told democratically to evict from the North, is it not the Sinhalese who now have a grievance? What would Cameron say to this right of movement and ownership of land being denied to the Sinhalese?
Mr. Cameron from your body language on arrival and the manner you behaved throughout it is disappointing that you are carrying on the legacy of colonial mentality and think that simply because you come from the country that ruled the world with might you can continue to do so. We hope that in darting to see the North though it has nothing to do with why you are in Sri Lanka, you saw for yourself what the North Tamils now enjoy. It is a pity that you did not make the similar efforts to see the crimes committed by the LTTE or visit any of the families of the dead and wounded by the LTTE and they number far more than the ghost numbers flying from the sky.
Mr. Cameron came to Sri Lanka after taking 6 years to launch a proper inquiry into UK’s role in Iraq after 4 other inquiries did not satisfy the British public and now you are attempting to block its release, so please don’t come preaching to us.
Yet again, we remind Cameron of his links to C4 and LTTE and to keep in mind that Rajiv Gandhi and President Premadasa were both killed by LTTE though they too were ‘friends’ of LTTE.
The crimes of the British one by one should realistically humble British leaders and not make you act as another Viceroy as you currently seem to think you can do.