Sri Lanka: What Reconciliation If The “Learned” Mourn Terrorists As Martyrs?‏ – OpEd


By Shenali Waduge

The world would have been a better place but for a handful of people who are directly or indirectly responsible for the state of anarchy and disunity throughout the world. They do not function in isolation and if people were to open their eyes and spend some time to find the truth they would know how wars, conflicts and terrorism are all inter-connected in some way or the other. It is why conflicts will continue and it is why peace is unlikely to ever prevail. It is precisely why the annihilation of an entire terrorist leadership by Sri Lanka has received the wrath of these groups for daring to go against the dictates of these conflict-makers. If an individual wishes to cry annually over the death of a terrorist that is his/her individual freedom and this can be done in private but when a banned terrorist group is remembered in a public event making a public spectacle it violates the law of the land and certainly questions the motive!

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Those questioning the “innocence” of mourning dead terrorists may well like to reveal what country on this planet will allow a public grievance ritual for dead terrorists? In 2011 the bones of Adolf Hitler’s deputy (Rudolf Hess) were exhumed in secret, burned and secretly scattered at sea after German authorities realized his grave became a shrine for neo-Nazis. Was this not why no sooner Osama was killed his remains were thrown to the sea and was it not precisely for these reasons that Prabakaran faced the same fate? If this is alarming to read how many knew that New Zealand bans parents from using names that include Lucifer and Adolf Hitler!

The world is a better place without these megalomaniacs and why would anyone wish to cry over their deaths unless they advocate the policies and terror these terrorists followed! Lets not fool ourselves – LTTE, Al Qaeda or any other proscribed terrorist group were not proscribed because they handed out candy to innocent victims! Thousands of people lost their lives because of their planned assassinations. Those who mourn the deaths of terrorists may first like to answer why innocent civilians had to be killed if their enemies were others? Do these terrorist entities camaflaged as humanitarian organizations, charities etc seriously believe that by issuing statements from their cozy international offices they are able to change that LTTE remains nothing but a terrorist outfit?

As for all those international players who despite knowing of LTTE terrorism enjoy promoting the “innocent” side of the LTTE an investigation of their bank accounts may reveal the reasons for their falling in love with LTTE terrorism. When Libya accused Francois Sarkozy of taking money from Gaddafi to fund his political campaign it was scoffed and laughed at. Now French authorities are investigating the authenticity and many skeletons are likely to come out of the closet which will certainly be the case if parliamentarians/UN and other INGOs were similarly investigated for their links with LTTE and other terrorist groups too. That Governments hesitate to is indicative that there are too many to investigate!

So what was the gameplan of the University of Jaffna students in remembering terrorists and that too with a public display?

The university authorities and Sri Lanka’s Government may like to read up on the incident at Haifa University where Arab students had held a “memorial service” for the commander of Hama’s military terror wing which led to Haifa University banning public events on campus.

We are well aware of how the LTTE used the Mahaveerar Naal held annually on 27/28 November each year to collect funds for its “cause” and these Martyrs Day events held abroad even had the presence of foreign parliamentarians who despite banning LTTE in their countries saw fit to even stand in front of massive cutouts of Prabakaran and accuse the Sri Lankan Government atop LTTE stages. Its not too late to check the bank accounts of these MPs!

If the Jaffna University students wish to remember and mourn – it is not LTTE terrorists for whom candles should be lit but for thousands of other innocent civilians who had their lives snuffed out just because LTTE wanted to promote itself as a brutal force meaning business to the outside world and flirted with media to internationalize their killings through visuals.

Instead of mourning the LTTE the Jaffna students should mourn the death of Krishnar Kamalathas who was killed by the LTTE in 2007 since he was a strong activist against the LTTE.

The Jaffna University has not been without controversy. In the late seventies the university was used as a safe house for members of the LTTE, it was one of the reasons for the IPKF to storm the compound leading to many deaths, yet groups of students also resisted LTTE presence leading to the crackdown on its students by the LTTE and there are several instances that LTTE had been using Jaffna University student ID cards as well. There is sufficient evidence to also prove that LTTE medical cadres were trained at Jaffna university and the medical faculty was used to treat wounded LTTE cadres – 3 of the LTTE “doctors” undergoing rehabilitation is proof.

The International Students Federation controlled by the TNA is regarded as an LTTE front and instrumental in organizing student and youth protests in Jaffna – so there’s hardly anything to be surprised with what ensued though the entire fault is being passed on to the Sri Lankan security authorities when these students were carrying out an illegal event totally unnecessary if the future is to be based on reconciliation. A full stop to reconciliation has been the need to publicly celebrate dead terrorists as heroes and this stands in the way of any and all efforts being done to restore peace. So those promoting reconciliation may well like to take these university students aside including academia if they are party to such activity and tell them that reconciliation does not begin with mourning terrorists as martyrs! It is giving a bad example to the 6000 students of the university.

Students should listen to the parents of Jaffna university students who protested against the TNA accusing them of misleading the student community. As in the case of all these promoters of terrorists – they send their children overseas for studies and ask innocent children to go to the jungles with arms. They send their children to study in English medium and ask Tamils to not budge an inch about desiring to learn Sinhalese and vice versa so that the communication gap is solved leaving people to communicate and solve matters themselves instead of outsourcing to petty minded political groups like the TNA who want create problems so they can stay in power!

The Sri Lankan Government needs to make a clear declaration to its citizens once again. All forms of public mourning (memorial, religious, vigils etc) for terrorists and that does include LTTE is banned. Anyone can in the privacy of their home cry their hearts out for any terrorists – but not in public.

Sri Lankans and especially those that seem to think that “freedom” equates to mean that they can openly endorse and advocate what they like irrespective of the freedom of others need to be reminded that Sri Lanka has an amendment to the Constitution called the 6th amendment of 8th August, 1983.

Individuals, groups and even politicians and political parties need to be reminded that under the 6th amendment, 157A

  • 157 A (1) No person can indirectly or directly support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State in Sri Lanka.
  • 157 A (2) No political party or other association or organization can as its aim or objective establish a separate state in Sri Lanka
  • 157 A (3) Anyone who acts in contravention to above, if convicted by the Court of Appeal can have his civic rights removed for 7 years, lose his movable and immovable property and other property and if a MP cease to hold such office.
  • Does the public not wonder why no action has been taken against the TNA and anyone is entitled to apply to the Supreme Court claiming that an association or organization has as one of its aims the establishment of a separate State. Given that the Supreme Court accepts the application that political party/association can be proscribed and members/MPs of the party will loose their parliamentary seats. The process is clearly pointed out in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
  • Additionally, there is the 7th schedule to Article 157A and Article 161 (d) where all MPs are required to take an oath. “I …………….. do solemnly declare and affirm swear that I will uphold and defend “the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and that I will not, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka”. The TULF refused to take this oath in 1983 and all 16 TULF MPs including Anandasangaree forfeited their parliamentary seats because they did not want to show allegiance to Sri Lanka being an unitary state.

There’s much for the university students to learn from and that lesson starts with departing from the present political mentality that is being practiced boosted by external sources keen to resurrect the LTTE or start a similar underground movement with the hope of building it up along militancy. If 30 years is not enough to show that it is the Tamils who have suffered it is time they opened their eyes.

The handful that do wish to cry over the LTTE do so because they have something to cry over and that something is not an eelaam it has everything to do with all that they enjoyed while the LTTE prevailed. Is this not why all the LTTE fronts that christened themselves under humanitarian names are now fighting to take hold of the LTTE kitty? This kitty is no small revenue generator and its profits are unlimited from unlimited sources of illicit activities – how else would they be able to buy over foreign voices to speak on their behalf – would respected men and women ever stand on top of terrorist stages and speak on behalf of an organization that has killed thousands of people for 30 years…. All this romanticizing of LTTE does not come free which is why we continue to ask foreign Governments to check all LTTE supporters bank accounts – the truth will emerge.

As for candlelight vigils, commemorations and what not – the Sri Lankan Government needs to immediately issue a very clear declaration that none of this nonsense is allowed in public – anyone can cry over dead terrorists in private, there is no need for an organized event to weep over dead terrorists.

If a vigil is a must please light a candle for the thousands of children who have fallen prey to LTTE suicide and bomb attacks, to the innocent student monks who were cut into pieces by LTTE, for the innocent worshippers who were slaughtered by the LTTE in Sri Lanka’s most sacred site – Sri Maha Bodhiya, for the innocent women and children whose villages were attacked by the LTTE and murdered in the most cruelest ways imaginable. Remembering the cruelty of the LTTE is what the majority of Sri Lankans remember and none of us wish to celebrate the deaths of any terrorist – now or ever.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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